Part 3.

Autumn leaves start to fall.

Thought for the season by The Bard:

‘Ripeness is all.’ *

King Lear, Act 5, Scene 2.

* That’s all folks!

Claude_Monet._Haystack._End_of_the_Summer._Morning._1891._Oil_on_canvas._Louvre,_Paris,_France (3)

To Autumn. 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 eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss-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-brimmed 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-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed 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 cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day too,
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.’

…Guess that just about covers it, but always room for nuance.

Herman Melville. ‘Moby Dick.’ Chapter 28, ‘Brit.’

‘Steering north-eastward from the Crozettes, we fell in with vast meadows of brit, the minute, yellow substance, upon which the Right whale largely feeds. For leagues and leagues it undulated round us, so that we seemed to be sailing through boundless fields of ripe and golden wheat.

On the second day, numbers of Right whales were seen, who, secure from the attack of a sperm whaler like the Pequod, with open jaws sluggishly swam through the brit, which adhering to the fringing fibres of that wondrous Venetian blind in their mouths, was in that manner separated from the water that escaped at the lip.

As morning mowers, who side by side slowly and seethingly advance their scythes through the long wet grass of marshy meads, even so these monsters swam, making a strange, grassy, cutting sound; and leaving behind them endless swathes of blue upon the yellow sea.’

Haiku by Masuo Basho

‘On a withered bough
A crow is perching :
Autumn evening now.’

秋雨叹三首 (二) Poem by Du Fu.

阑风长雨秋纷纷 Ceaseless wind and lengthy rain swirl together this autumn,
四海八荒同一云 The four seas and eight deserts are covered by one cloud.
去马来牛不复辨 A horse going, an ox coming, cannot be distinguished,
浊泾清渭何当分 How now can the muddy Jing and cleat Wei be told apart?
禾头生耳黍穗黑 The standing grain begins to sprout, the millets ears turn black,
农夫田妇无消息 Farmers and the farmers wives have no hopeful news.
城中斗米换衾绸 In the city, a bucket of rice can cost a silken quilt,
相许宁论两相直 And both the buyer and seller have to agree the bargain is fair.

qiū yǔ tàn sān shǒu (èr)

lán fēng cháng yǔ qiū fēn fēn
sì hǎi bā huāng tóng yī yún
qù mǎ lái niú bú fù biàn
zhuó jīng qīng wèi hé dāng fēn
hé tóu shēng ěr shǔ suì hēi
nóng fū tián fù wú xiāo xī
chéng zhōng dǒu mǐ huàn qīn chóu
xiāng xǔ nìng lùn liǎng xiāng zhí

Figures in a Landscape.

In Hokusai’s woodblock-print
Ejiri in Suruga Province,
Nature in playful mood
blows the leaves from trees,
sends scribes’ papers sailing
sky-wards, snatches hats
from the heads of peasants
who react with strange contortions,
clutching flailing clothing,
grimacing into the wind.


Past High Noon.

Autumn so autumnal,
so betwixt and between,
the last stage-coach-post to
No-Return; so seize the day,
take on board what goods you may
before High Noon’s forgotten,
do not forsake me, oh my …

That’s all folks …


  1. Thank you beththeserf – An uplifting post. I come here rarely but it’s always worth the visit.
    Herman Melville – what a star. Incredible descriptive writing but very dense. Sadly, I must be very dense as well, I’ve lost count of the times I have started Moby Dick and not finished it.

    • Thank you Beth. I took a dip as you suggested by spending part of a wet Monday afternoon reading that chapter. He does make what must have been a really hard bloody business seem heroic and depicts the attitude of the whalers to the whales as a sort of unsentimental curiosity. Times change.
      Thank you again – C

  2. Colin, on another wet Monday arvo or longer,
    if you want a story of the sea to captivate and
    enthral, dip into Patrick O’Brian’s ‘Master and
    Commander.’ … See my 29th Edition, ‘Master
    and Commander’ Part 2.

    • Thx Beth – I’ve seen the film, which wasn’t bad considering Russell Crowe was in it :o). I will do as you suggest. It takes a prompt like this to get me off my mental couch.

  3. Ain’t Kindle just wonderful! Beth, thank you, Dip into it? l could not put it down – read it in two evenings! Two evenings of excitement on the Mediterranean and a bit of unspecified hanky pankey on land – Hornblower for grown-ups. The rest of the books in the series are now on my Christmas list.
    Paul Bettany? Paul Bettany? Ah yes, Paul Bettany – well, handsome enough chap in an actorish sort of way I suppose. (Snark off)
    Good actor though.

  4. Colin,
    What awaits you in the Aubrey-Maturibn series … the development
    of the friendship beween the above, they’re wonderful characters,
    the historical setting and suspenseful events, oh my! )
    U can see I’m a fan. bts

  5. As requested, a “Fall” poem:


    In strict agogai, stifling howls,
    The Spartans flick-fight with wet towels.
    After Leuctra ranks are thin,
    Still they dump their babes in bins.
    Nor can Darby marry Joan –
    Well, not till they reduce that loan.
    Steve and Adam tie the bow
    (Incomes two and children 0).
    Just Tartars breed…They’ve jumped our wall!
    Ah, never mind, it’s just the Fall,
    Just that crazy, crumbly Fall.
    It’s just the Fall.

    Trimalchio’s lunch is pure of toxin,
    (Gone vegan since he spewed those oxen);
    Prince Charles’ Aston runs on food;
    The Pope’s deep green (or he’d get booed).
    Gaia gobbles peasants’ tithes,
    Blacksmiths starve – though Tetzel thrives.
    (Can’t hate local grime enough:
    The Middle Kingdom makes our stuff.)
    You might think Tartars have such gall –
    But really, people, that’s the Fall,
    Just that funny, fractious Fall.
    It’s just the Fall.

    Soft students seek safe space from words,
    Rape gangs prowl the western ‘burbs.
    Caesar’s pouring beers for votes;
    Tartar voters come on boats:
    Stern Cato doesn’t like their flavour…
    Still, he doesn’t mind cheap labour.
    Cincinnatus works till sore –
    Don’t he know we’ll tax him raw?
    You might thinks it’s mad ‘n all…
    People, chill! It’s just the Fall,
    Just that wacky, wobbly Fall.

    It’s just…

    …the Fall.

  6. Nice pick, serf.

    Know this?

    Roman Wall Blues

    Over the heather the wet wind blows,
    I’ve lice in my tunic and a cold in my nose.
    The rain comes pattering out of the sky,
    I’m a Wall soldier, I don’t know why.

    The mist creeps over the hard grey stone,
    My girl’s in Tungria; I sleep alone.
    Aulus goes hanging around her place,
    I don’t like his manners, I don’t like his face.

    Piso’s a Christian, he worships a fish;
    There’d be no kissing if he had his wish.
    She gave me a ring but I diced it away;
    I want my girl and I want my pay.

    When I’m a veteran with only one eye
    I shall do nothing but look at the sky.

    WH Auden

  7. Beth, an engaging and uplifting blog and comments – thanks. I love Hadrian’s Wall, which I know from a very different perspective than a Roman soldier at the end of the world. I hope your readership is widening as it deserves.

  8. Thx, Faustino. Just received stats from wordpress
    for year. I’m happy with the coverage, I’ll send it
    to you. Such a pretty display like the fireworks I saw
    last night on the roof of a high rise in St Kilda!

    Wishing you the very best for 2016 Faustino.
    Have found you an inspiration and hope we will
    hear more wise and witty words from you anon. bts

    PS Today I saw and heard an azure kingfisher by
    the Yarra River.

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