Pop Cultured: International poets recall fall

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shallow focus photography brown leaf tree
Fall leaves are one of the most amazing spectacles to witness. Something even more amazing than the scenery are the poems poets have written about fall. Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

Although it has been warm the past couple of days, November is the prime time for autumn. Leaves have almost completely fallen off the trees and hot cups of coffee or tea and cute sweaters are go-tos. But what else can you do to embrace the season? Poets around the world have written some of the most beautiful poems that are guaranteed to make you fall for fall! 

“Fall Song” 

November is not only about fall, it’s also Native American Heritage Month. During the 2019-2020 year, Joy Harjo became the first Native American to be awarded the Poet Laureate. According to her website, she constantly immerses herself in the arts through writing and performing music. “Fall Song,” a short poem she wrote describes a dark rainy day during fall and the sounds of birds crying.  

Harjo explains in an article to the Washington Examiner that, “You can speak of something quite sacred with ordinary language.” She describes the importance of not dwelling on the past too much or on the future because you can lose the present. Then she continues to describe the gloomy fall day as “strung perfectly on necklace of days, slightly overcast, yellow leaves,” but ends the poem on a more positive note about being by someone’s side during fall.  

Read the poem.

“When Autumn Came” 

multicolored trees growing in autumn woods in daytime
In autumn, the trees start to let go of their leaves. It’s death for the leaves, but it leads to a rebirth in the spring, as poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz described in his poem “When Autumn Came.” Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was an Indian poet that grew up in the upper class of India in the late 19th century. Besides poetry, Faiz also wrote for several distinguished magazines and newspapers in his lifetime. According to the Indian civil service examination preparation guide that provided an explanation for this poem, Faiz describes autumn as a comparison to human life. He states that when autumn comes, it strips trees of all their leaves with no choice and birds begin to die, like the death of people. However, Faiz ends the poem on a note of happiness as both autumn (and the man) will rebirth. According to the explanation for the poem, Faiz was also trying to signify that trees are the source of life. As autumn comes the leaves fall, which resembles how people are stripped of their life. But it is not the end, it rather signifies hope for the future because the trees will regrow.  

Read the poem for yourself 

“To Autumn”  

According to the Poetry Foundation, John Keats was born in the late 18th century in London. He was known as one of the great romantic poets of his time. One of his most famous poems was written in 1819  titled, “To Autumn.” His poem describes the change of season from summer to autumn. In the first verse, he describes how relaxing autumn is and how the autumn sun has helped the harvest grow. He talks about the autumn season and sun as connecting forces that help farms flourish to the extent that vines run on the edge of thatch roofs and ripen fruits from trees on farms. Keats also mentions in the first verse that autumn makes gourds fill with sweet seeds inside. He then shifts to talking about how autumn makes flowers grow so that bees can collect pollen until they think it will never end, even when the hives are filled with honey.   

Read the rest of the verses here

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