Monday, October 29, 2007

Came across this particular...

swan on the Ashton Canal, liked the cut of its jib. In the UK all swans belong to the Queen. Grrr. They seem such graceful creatures, but apparently got vicious tempers, snap a man's leg clean off with a single look. Or is that break a child's leg with one wing. Or it might have been never pull a gun on a friend. The point I'm trying to make is, don't cross a cross swan. Oh no.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Autumn is in full swing...

here in the UK. Hmmm. Although I think the place looks pretty, dressed in golds, auburns, russets, reds and yellows, it does not do for me what spring does.

However, Autumn nevertheless provides the opportunity for a bit of John Keats. The same happened last year I know but hey, why deny ourselves a bit of Keats? The photo was taken today on the Marple Canal that skirts the east of Manchester just below the Pennine foothills and above Ashton and Stockport. More pics on flickr over on't right...

Keats opens the second stanza of his poem with a question, "Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?" He then implores autumn to ignore spring and instead appreciate itself, which is a lesson for me too. Spring, perhaps I love it too much, even to the detriment of autumn and winter. Nah, sod autumn and winter, they can look after themselves. Great poem though.

To Autumn

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,
Drows'd 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 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 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 red-breat whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

- John Keats