Poem or The Week — John Keats And Our Season Of Mellow Fruitfulness

Gill Ward writes: ‘I have left it a bit late with this poem as it isn’t really Autumn.  However, in Kapiti we have had an escape from much of the weather events which have turned many people’s lives around.

We are counting our blessings and doing what we can to help.

Two things about this poem – one is many of us can immediately say the first two lines (but not always remember the rest!). It surely reminds us of our school days.

The other is that this page is very English! Not many places in Aotearoa have such an intense Autumn as the one described but we do understand it.

Visual strengths

One of the strengths of the poem is it is so visual – as you read you can see all these places, nooks and crannies.

Today as I write Autumn is trying to stick around; it’s giving me a clear blue sky and bright sun. Seems some seasons don’t know their place! How lucky for us.


John Keats 1795 –1821

‘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-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d 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-brimm’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;
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 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, hours by hours.

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


Written September 19, 1819; first published in 1820. This poem is in the public domain.

Check out poets.org such a lot to read about Keats and over 3000 other poets. It will be a good idea when winter comes (and) can be spring be far behind?” (Shelley) 

Season’s greetings (choose your season) Gill

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