Evening Poetry, October 17

To Autumn

by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells. 

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, 
   Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook 
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: 
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
   Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look, 
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours. 

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they? 
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,— 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; 
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft 
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft 
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft; 
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

You can find this poem in The Complete Poems of John Keats.

Evening Poetry, October 16

Working Together

by David Whyte

We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again.

The visible
and the invisible

working together
in common cause,

to produce
the miraculous.

I am thinking of the way
the intangible air

traveled at speed
round a shaped wing

easily
holds our weight.

So may we, in this life
trust

to those elements
we have yet to see

or imagine,
and look for the true

shape of our own self,
by forming it well

to the great
intangibles about us.

Written for the presentation of the Collier Trophy to The Boeing Company marking the introduction of the new 777 passenger jet.

You can find this poem in The House of Belonging.

Evening Poetry, October 15

The Angel of the Bog

For Lelia

by John O’ Donohue

The angel of the bog mourns in the wind

That loiters all over these black meadows.

Remember how it chose branches to strum

From the orchestra of trees that stood here;

How at twilight a chorus of birds came

To silence in nests of darkening air.

Raindrops filter through leaves, silver the air,

Wash off the film of dust to release nets

Of fragrance on which the wind can sweeten

Before expiring among the debris

That brightens each year with fallen colour

Before the weight of winter seals the ground.

The dark eyes of the angel of the bog

Never open now when dawn comes to dress

The famished grass with splendid veils of red,

Amber, white, as if its soul were urgent

And young with possibility and dreams

That a vanished life might become visible.

You can find this poem in Conamara Blues.

Evening Poetry, October 14

Loaves and Fishes

by David Whyte

This is not

the age of information.

This is not

the age of information.

Forget the news,

and the radio,

and the blurred screen.

This is the time

of loaves

and fishes.

People are hungry,

and one good word is bread

for a thousand.

You can find this poem in The House of Belonging.

Evening Poetry, October 13

from The Book of a Monastic Life

I, 18

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Why am I reaching again for the brushes?

When I paint your portrait, God,

nothing happens.

But I can choose to feel you.

At my senses’ horizon

you appear hesitantly,

like scattered islands

Yet standing here, peering out,

I’m all the time seen by you.

The choruses of ages use up all of heaven.

There’s no more room for you

in all that glory. You’re living

in your very last house.

All creation holds its breath, listening within me,

because, to hear you, I keep silent.

You can find this poem in Rilke’s Book of Hours.

Evening Poetry, October 12

Goldenrod, Late Fall

by Mary Oliver

This morning the goldenrod are all wearing

their golden shirts

fresh from heaven’s soft wash in the chill night.

So it must be a celebration.

And here comes the wind, so many swinging wings!

Has he been invited, or is he the intruder?

Invited, whisper the golden pebbles of the weeds,

as they begin to fall

over the ground. Well, you would think the little murmurs

of the broken blossoms would have said

otherwise, but no. So I sit down among them to

think about it while all around me the crumbling

goes on. The weeds let down their seedy faces

cheerfully, which is the part I like best, and certainly

it is as good as a book for learning from. You would think

they were just going for a small sleep. You would think

they couldn’t wait, it was going to be

that snug and even, as all their lives were, full of

excitation. You would think

it was a voyage just beginning, and no darkness anywhere,

but tinged with all necessary instruction, and light,

and all were shriven, as all the round world is,

and so it wasn’t anything but easy to fall, to whisper

Good Night.

You can find this poem in Why I Wake Early.

Evening Poetry, October 11

The Journey

by David Whyte

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

You can find this poem in The House of Belonging.