“This is the barrenness / of harvest or pestilence.”

Better late than never, right? It’s been three days since All Souls Day, but I’m still mulling over Louise Glück’s creepy and just-right poem, “All Hallows.

Image Hay Bales On Freshly Harvested Fields" Courtesy of Franky242/ freedigitalphotos.net

Image Hay Bales On Freshly Harvested Fields” Courtesy of Franky242/ freedigitalphotos.net

I like that the particular line I’ve quoted in the post’s title captures the dichotomy of the end of fall (well, at least here it feels like the end of fall, even if there are technically six more weeks until winter) — it’s difficult to discern, sometimes, whether it feels like the ground underfoot is dying or bursting with life.

Just now the first stanza of the poem, which begins, “Even now this landscape is assembling.” suggests to me a painting, I think a Monet, of the gathered hay covered in lavender snow. Come to think of it, I can bring to mind several summer and spring paintings, and not a few decked with snow, but I’m having a difficult time coming up with a fall painting (if you have one you like, let me know!). Maybe that’s because, as the first line suggests, autumn “is assembling” itself for winter; it’s a flux-state, not even, really, itself.

9 thoughts on ““This is the barrenness / of harvest or pestilence.”

  1. I LOVE the poems you’ve been listing. That last line sent shivers down my spine! You’re going to make me a poetry reader if you keep it up, Carolyn! Unfortunately for us down here in Texas, it does NOT feel like the end of fall. It doesn’t even feel like the beginning of fall. (Well, maybe it does a little.) What’s fall? I miss it. It used to be my favorite season before I lived somewhere with only two seasons, summer (six months long) and sort of winter. Well, maybe more like fall, but without the crispness and the vibrant leaves.

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