Let’s be honest: even for those of us who love Fall (me!), it can be a hard season. Everything in the natural world readies for death or hibernation. Gardens wilt, brown, freeze. School suddenly consumes our attention and time (or our loved ones’ attention and time) at the exact moment that the cooler weather makes us want to stay under the covers. For. One. More. Minute. Just. One. More. Minute.
When I feel a little bluesy about Autumn, I like to remember that it is Spring on the other side of the globe (hello Aussie friends! Enjoy the awakening warmth!). And, I like to pause for poetry. Even if you think poetry isn’t your thing, stick with me for a minute here…
Poetry can be many things… it can be amusing, absurd, humorous, such as in these lines about Beets (a great root crop) by Kathryn Machan Aal: “Beets: now there’s a subject. / Dark, red, rounded, hard as — / well, hard as beets. / I know a woman / who grew a garden last summer, / planted it with nothing / but lettuce and beets. / The lettuce didn’t grow / but she had plenty of slugs / and beets, plenty of beets… / Someone else I know / always asks for beets, no matter / what kind of restaurant we’re in. / Even at the beach / he’ll go up to the hot dog stand. / ‘Got any beets?’ he’ll say…”
It can be poignant such as in this Autumn poem by Rilke: “The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up, / as if orchards were dying high in space. / And tonight the heavy earth is falling… / We’re all falling. This hand here is falling. / And look at the other one. It’s in them all. / And yet there is Someone, whose hands / infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.”
When it’s this time of year, I appreciate both the humor to lift me and the tenderness to mirror the transition happening outside and inside. I want to be conscious and present to the fullness of each moment of each season… the whole cycle and circle… Including poetry in my lifestyle helps me do this. Even when I am rushing to get the next assignment done before deadline, I try to remember not only the function of words but also the art of them.
What about you? Do you pause for poetry? What in your life helps you notice and hold all the change that is constantly happening?