Friday, October 14, 2005

Odes to autumn

October is a fine and dangerous season in America. . . . It is a wonderful time to begin anything at all. You go to college, and every course in the catalogue looks wonderful. The names of the subjects all seem to lay open the way to a new world. Your arms are full of new, clean notebooks, waiting to be filled. You pass through the doors of the library, and the smell of thousands of well-kept books makes your head swim with a clean and subtle pleasure. You have a new hat, a new sweater perhaps, or a whole new suit. Even the nickels and quarters in your pocket feel new, and the buildings shine in the glorious sun.
Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain, 1948
Fall, thou ambiguous season, who begin
With the red cast-off sun-scorched skin of summer
And end with winter's pallor, hear oh hear
My chant to thee, harbinger of rebirth
Of school and love and work
Kenneth Koch, "Autumn," from The Seasons (homage to the 18th-century poet James Thomson), 1998

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