Sunday, October 2, 2011

October Poems

For those of you who, like me, always feel a little melancholy with the coming of Autumn, here are some poems, songs, and art pieces to resonate with that mood.

Forest of Beech Trees, Gustav Klimt, c. 1903

"Autumn" by Rainier Maria Rilke
The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,  
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning "no." 

And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.

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. 

Click to hear Joshua Shank's choral setting of this poem. 

Late October by Gloria Newton, 2010

"Intercession in Late October" by Robert Graves
How hard the year dies: no frost yet.
On drifts of yellow sand Midas reclines,
Fearless of moaning reed or sullen wave.
Firm and fragrant still the brambleberries
On ivy-bloom butterlies wag.

Spare him a little longer, Crone,
For his clean hands and love-submissive heart.

Click here for Morten Lauridsen's choral setting of this poem, which was dedicated to my choir director, Donald Brinegar.

Silence by Odilion Redon, 1913
"Automne" by Armand Sylvestre
Automne au ciel brumeux, aux horizons navrants,
Aux rapides couchants, aux aurores pâlies,
Je regarde couler, comme l'eau du torrent,
   Tes jours faits de mélancolie.

Sur l'aile des regrets mes esprits emportés,
Comme s'il se pouvait que notre âge renaisse !
Parcourent en rêvant les coteaux enchantés,
   Où, jadis, sourit ma jeunesse!

Je sens, au clair soleil du souvenir vainqueur, 
Refleurir en bouquet les roses déliées, 
Et monter à mes yeux, des larmes, qu'en mon coeur   
  Mes ving ans avaient oubliées! 

Click here for Gabriel Faure's vocal setting of this poem, which is one of my favorite art songs. 

Translation by Peter Low:
Autumn, time of misty skies and heart-breaking horizons,
of rapid sunsets and pale dawns,
I watch your melancholy days
  flow past like a torrent.

My thoughts borne off on the wings of regret
(as if our time could ever be relived!)
dreamingly wander the enchanted slopes
  where  my youth once used to smile.

In the bright sunlight of triumphant memory
I feel the scattered roses reblooming in bouquets;
and tears well up in my eyes, tears which  my heart
  at twenty had already forgotten!