Monday, October 26, 2009

last week in october

so here it is, the last week in october. i love the autumn and you might be getting tired of me saying that but i love the cooler days, the rain, the occasional fog, the clear nights, the leaves, the suddenly bare trees and the unmistakeable urgency around preparing for the winter.

i was wandering through some works by russian impressionists and came across two paintings that open out the thomas hardy poem below.

the rays of the setting sun vasili baksheyev


golden autumn isaac levitan


the last week of october

the trees are undressing, and fling in many places—
on the gray road, the roof, the window-sill—
their radiant robes and ribbons and yellow laces;
a leaf each second so is flung at will,
here, there, another and another, still and still.

a spider's web has caught one while downcoming,
that stays there dangling when the rest pass on;
like a suspended criminal hangs he, mumming
in golden garb, while one yet green, high yon,
trembles, as fearing such a fate for himself anon.

thomas hardy

30 comments:

Delwyn said...

Hello there Steven

I loved your skies and leafy autumns...the top pic I especially like for the purples and mauves that the eye accepts in a painting as realistic...yet we know it is not...
The 2nd pic could be from New Zealand where poplars and willows are common along river banks.

I hope that you are not getting too chilled on your bike...
Happy days

steven said...

hello delwyn! the bike riding goes along famously thankyou. i have more layers on now and i am wearing my winter mitts on those mornings when it's just too too cold for the thin woolen mittens. the days are all starting above zero celsius and for the next little while they'll rise above ten celsius so it's not bad at all. next week it'll be a bit colder........ brrrrr. have a lovely warm day by the river. steven

Pauline said...

Marvelous paintings and poem. Here the trees have flung their garments down, too. Autumn is so fleeting it's hard to get too much of it.

steven said...

hello pauline - i'm glad to see you say that because autumn is my favourite time of year and i'm sure the golden fish readers are being tested in their enjoyment of this the third season. quite a few people in my circle find it the hardest month to enjoy - and for legitimate reasons. i find it beautiful. have a peaceful day. steven

Titus said...

Wonderful paintings, steven. The last one took me straight to "And Quiet flows the Don", which I swear I haven't read for 30 years.

Weather getting a little dank and miserable here, so roll on the frosts, please!

Reya Mellicker said...

Fall is my favorite season. Oh those paintings are sublime, as is the poem. Made me feel peaceful just gazing and reading. Thanks!

Golden West said...

Always interested to read what is capturing your attention, be it art, poetry, the seasons, personal reflections - it's all good!

ellen abbott said...

Wonderful paintings. Yes, fall is for buttoning down and preparing for winter.

Coastcard said...

Great stuff from Hardy - and ekphrastic images, too, Steven.

I have visited two of Hardy's homes, and visited the Cornish cliff area that inspired some of his Cornish poems. Must get around to doing a Hardy blog post...

Great 'new' (to me) blogskin pic. Our autumn colours are good, too: the leaves are just falling. One minute the scene is 'autumn' and the next when the light falls, definitely 'winter'.

staceyjwarner said...

Thomas Hardy is one of my favorite authors, in fact I just mentioned in him on another comment I made.

Thanks for sharing such beauty

much love

Margaret Pangert said...

Hi Steven~ The paintings are gorgeous--I never tire of the turning leaves. The poem by Thomas Hardy began with a familiar point of view--and then became wildly humorous! The leaf hanging from a cobweb like a suspended criminal! So thanks for the beauty, the laugh, the happiness.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

Those two paintings go well with the scenes around here today. Your words speak volumes about our condition.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Gosh, Steven, you sure know how to pick 'em. I have a weakness for Russian Impressionists. And I had not read Hardy's poem before. Elegant and a tad flingy like the trees with their leaves. Very nice. I hope you get the full measure of fall's waning colors and pleasant bluster.

willow said...

I can't believe this could possibly be the last week of October. I've been waiting for this month the entire year and it flew by so quickly. sigh.

Elizabeth said...

You feed my fall-hunger
and delight me with new images
So wonderful
thank you

Jenny Stevning said...

It is still 80+ degrees here in Souther California. The nights are cooler but it is hard to find autumn. You can tell the trees long to do their job but the warm air suffocates and thwarts the transformation. Sometimes the trees don't change until Thanksgiving.
I love to know Autumn is living fully in yonder places and that you are fully appreciating it. Thank you for providing my vicarious Fall.

steven said...

hello titus - i haven't read any of sholokhov's work. my loss! i had heard of this work and certainly from the description of his writing i can see the link into these scenes. there is something really appealling to me about russian writing - like french writing from the late eighteen hundreds - i can't characterize it but it touches a chord. have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hi reya - autumn is my favourite season - i was just riding home and looking through my orangy-brown tinted glasses at the trees and thinking about the colours and then also the smells of the woodfires and the rustling of the leaves down the streets. it's pure magic to me reya!!!! have a sweet dc evening. steven

steven said...

thankyou golden west. i wake up and never know what will be on my plate, in my heart, on my mind, in my hands, under my feet!! it's magic and makes waking up in the dark that much nicer. have a lovely evening out there. steven

steven said...

hi ellen - they are beautiful paintings. i love the russian impressionists and i think i'll be adding a wish for a book of their art to my christmas wish list. have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hello carolyn, it's lovely to see you dropping by here for a visit!! "ekphrastic" - now there's a word that doesn't get a lot of airplay but a beauty all the same!!! i visited a town called wimbourne minster in the early eighties. hardy read there in a smallish apartment on the second floor of a house. it was thrilling to me to be so close to a place where he had been. i have loved hardy since i was fifteen. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

stacey j warner it's a delight to share goodness here with good people like you. truly it is. steven

steven said...

hello margaret - well, as you know life is serious - and ridiculous!!! i'm so glad you enjoyed your visit. steven

steven said...

yes abe when i looked at those two piantings i imagined spaces not a few kilometres from here that would look exactly like those two russian scenes. that's the beauty of being in the north of our planet. thanks for the visit. steven

steven said...

hey richard - what a lucky find then to share the russian impressionists today!! i've showed other works by them before this but some time ago. i love their use of light and their strong connection to textures beyond the surface - not sure how to put that clearly - but they see beneath the surface of colour and light. have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hi willow - oh it's like the first blush of love - it's the most magical and you hold it for as long as possible before it becomes a memory - still beautiful but lost inside the passage of time. steven

steven said...

oh elizabeth - your fall hunger - that's it exactly! that's what i feel when i know it's coming, then i am inside it and then ........it's gone. fill me up with images, experiences and little pleasures as quickly as possible. yep that's autumn. have a lovely nyc evening. steven

steven said...

hey jenny stevning - keep dropping by 'cause there's much much more to come. i only wish i could send you a video of my ride home tonight. it was around five oclock and the sun is fairly low on the horizon and i was watching the trees pass by through my bike racing glasses which are tinted orangy brown. oh wow. what a view!!!! have a lovely warm autumn evening out there!!!! steven

Jennifer said...

Hi Steven. I am glad that you are bringing us so much about autumn, from your photos to the paintings to poetry. It's worthy of it, the sights are so spectacular.

BT said...

I love both those paintings steven, thank you for posting them. The poem is new to me in spite of being Thomas Hardy and I really enjoyed the descriptive flavour of it all. A super post.