Monday, 9 September 2013

Ode to Autumn

But before we get onto that, a quick update on yesterday's blog.  I wrote that I had watched the Last Night of the Proms and was not appreciative of the lady who sang Over the Rainbow and Rule, Britannia.  (Over the rainbow is where she should have stayed.)  Anyway- I have since read no fewer than three reviews (which is almost a first since I don't generally bother with reviews) and it is obvious that I was experiencing one of those everyone-is-out-of-step-except-me moments.  Joyce DiDonato or Di-Donato - there being some confusion over whether or not she should be hyphenated, which sounds like a particularly gruesome medieval torture, rather like her singing - received rave reviews, one actually describing her as "a marvel".  But I suppose that can mean more than one thing.  Whatever, I did not enjoy her rendering of Over the Rainbow.  Mind you, I have never liked the song anyway; it's too saccharin-sweet for my taste.  Oh well, chacun a, one man's meat, and all those other clichés.

So, autumn.  It has most decidedly arrived.  At the start of last week we were basking in temperatures in the upper 20s but by the end of the week we were getting used once more to the mid- to low teens.  At this time of the year a poem I had to study at school always comes into my mind: Keats' Ode to Autumn.  You probably know the opening lines:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom friend of the maturing sun.
For some reason, I had it fixed in my mind that the poem was actually a sonnet - despite the title!  We most certainly did study the sonnet form and even now I can tell you that a sonnet is a poem of 14 lines of iambic pentameters.  Which means, I think, that each line should go di da di da di da di da di da.  There is also a convention about the rhyming, these being abba abba cde cde (I think).  I know I was intrigued by the form of these poems, which I decided must be extremely difficult to compose.  I tried my hand on more than one occasion but all I can remember is the opening of one:
Tis autumn.  The armies of the seasons
Intermingle.  Summer retreats, winter
Advances her probing, dead'ning squadrons.
Yeah, I know - but I was nobbut a teenager at the time.

I have already picked several pounds of blackberries from the jungle that was at one time my vegetable plot.  The apples will not be long - and there are plenty of them.

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