Ode to Autumn by John Keats (1819)

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-eaves 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’erbrimm’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,  

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook  

Spares the next swath and all its twinèd 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 barrèd 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 redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;  

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.  

Listen to Juliet Stevenson reading the poem on the Today programme on Radio 4

 

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