“our evenings swoon in pallid skies more suddenly”

From the Laudator:

Edward Dowden, In September, from his Poems (London: Henry S. King & Co., 1876), p. 160:

    Spring scarce had greener fields to show than these
    Of mid September; through the still warm noon
    The rivulets ripple forth a gladder tune
    Than ever in the summer; from the trees
    Dusk-green, and murmuring inward melodies,
    No leaf drops yet; only our evenings swoon
    In pallid skies more suddenly, and the moon
    Finds motionless white mists out on the leas.
    Dear chance it were in some rough wood-god’s lair
    A month hence, gazing on the last bright field,
    To sink o’er-drowsed, and dream that wild-flowers blew
    Around my head and feet silently there,
    Till Spring’s glad choir adown the valley pealed,
    And violets trembled in the morning dew.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. susanna says:

    This is nice Father. (I love September but I get sad – seasonal affective disorder, I think.)

  2. wanda says:

    Sigh. Love the poem, it just fits the weather and the picture outside today.

  3. Mary Ann says:

    Lovely. Thank you FrZ.
    Perhaps you would enjoy this one also…

    by Michael Shorb

    Just north of Valley Falls
    rust mustard hue of
    fading autumn
    chills the marsh
    last storm of
    Canadian geese
    stuns the flyway

    imprinted engines of feathers and cries.

    the rest of this poem can be seen at:
    It’s copyrighted by the author in 2009 or I’d provide rest of the page here. ;-)

  4. Eric says:

    I wish I got poetry.

    Sometimes I think people bring it up to get me to buy into a hoax, like cow-tipping, or abstract art.

  5. AnAmericanMother says:


    Try some of the older poets. Kipling is a man’s writer, much maligned but he “got” the rhythm of the music halls, which is a good door into poetry for people who don’t ‘do’ poetry. It’s a very mixed bag – his early stuff is pure riot and rhythm, his later work gets a little tougher to read.

    Robert Service is another man’s poet. Also A.E. Housman. Tennyson, Longfellow, Stevenson, maybe even William Blake. Try them and see what you think. Keats, Byron . . . I think if you start with the 19th c. poets it will be enjoyable.

    I would recommend Gerard Manley Hopkins, but he’s “deep” and sometimes I’m not sure he knew what he meant. I love him but don’t always understand him. But if you read him for the rhythm and the stresses (out loud absolutely) just let the meaning come in flashes.

    Reading out loud helps, too.

  6. Eric says:

    Kipling huh? He got me into trouble before.

    In eight grade study hall I picked up, what I later discovered to be “Kiplings Complete Poetry”, randomly off the shelf to cover my Spider Man comic.

    The cute intellectual girl that sat next to me in home room happened by and with a bewildered look on her face asked ,”Do you like Kipling?”

    As I sat there for several moments debating between ,” I don’t know, I’ve never Kippled before” and ” Oh yes, Baloo is my favorite character of all time.” The librarian noticed me in trouble and said for the whole room to hear,” Don’t forget to take that comic out of that book before you put it back, Eric.”

    I may be hopeless.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    My favorite:

    Ode to Autumn by 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’d cottage-trees, 5
    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; 10
    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; 15
    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; 20
    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 25
    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; 30
    Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
    The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

  8. AnAmericanMother says:

    Eric, if you had only read Stalky & Co., you wouldn’t have gotten into trouble.


    Spring and Fall

    Margaret, are you grieving
    Over Goldengrove unleaving?
    Leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
    Ah! as the heart grows older
    It will come to such sights colder
    By & by, nor spare a sigh
    Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
    And yet you wíll weep & know why.
    Now no matter, child, the name:
    Sorrow’s springs are the same.
    Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
    It is the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for

    – Gerard Manley Hopkins

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