When most of us get to poetry in our grade school or early high school years we meet Henry David Thoreau. We meet him most frequently in Walden and then most of us forget what we read a few years later. I never forgot about Thoreau. I always pictured him sitting in the middle of a marsh somewhere with a pristine overcoat and muddy shoes making notes and pondering things deeply. When I wasn’t plotting out my path to the monastery I was in search of my own Walden. I may have stumbled on it when we lived in the middle of the country near Franklin, TN for six years. It was there I realized that the grass is indeed greener on the other side and that I don’t care for muddy shoes all that much. Even so, each fall my spirit moves squarely back to Thoreau whether I am in the city or the country. So for our poetry tuesday I decided to post one of his poems.
I am the Autumnal Sun
Sometimes a mortal feels in himself Nature
— not his Father but his Mother stirs
within him, and he becomes immortal with her
immortality. From time to time she claims
kindredship with us, and some globule
from her veins steals up into our own.
I am the autumnal sun,
With autumn gales my race is run;
When will the hazel put forth its flowers,
Or the grape ripen under my bowers?
When will the harvest or the hunter’s moon
Turn my midnight into mid-noon?
I am all sere and yellow,
And to my core mellow.
The mast is dropping within my woods,
The winter is lurking within my moods,
And the rustling of the withered leaf
Is the constant music of my grief…
Henry David Thoreau