Autumn/Fall, a heartwarming season falls between summer and winter. It is defined in the Northern Hemisphere as the period between the autumnal equinox (September) and the winter solstice (December) and in the Southern Hemisphere as the period between March and June. Autumn has not only melted the hearts with its hue and saturation but inspired great minds also to create literary masterpieces. Poets have captured this season of striking change in their poems while metaphorically exploring the philosophy of life as a cycle of changes. From William Shakespeare to Gillian Clarke and Robert Frost to Rita Dove, autumn has blown the minds of famous thinkers, writers, and readers all these years.
In this section “Best Autumn/Fall Poems” we have explored a number of poems to pick some of the best autumn/all poems that the readers can sit back reading and enjoy. Here is the list of poems about this season that was called by John Keats as the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, and observed by Robert Frost as “Nothing gold can stay.”
Best Autumn/Fall Poetry
- 1 Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare
- 2 To Autumn by John Keats
- 3 Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost
- 4 Fall, Leaves, Fall by Emily Bronte
- 5 Theme in Yellow by Carl Sandburg
- 6 Autumn Song by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
- 7 Plums by Gillian Clarke
- 8 Autumn Fires by Robert Louis Stevenson
- 9 November for Beginners by Rita Dove
- 10 The Heat of Autumn by Jane Hirshfield
- 11 First Fall by Maggie Smith
- 12 l(a (A Leaf Falls with Loneliness) by E. E. Cummings
- 13 September Tomatoes by Karina Borowicz
- 14 Autumn Song by Sarojini Naidu
- 15 Japanese Maple by Clive James
Sonnet 73 (That time of year thou mayst in me behold) is an exemplary sonnet expressing the theme of time using Autumn/Fall as a metaphor. In this poem, the poet is preparing his young friend for approaching death. The death he mentions here is not a literal death of his body, but the metaphorical death of his youth and passion. The sonnet focuses on the narrator’s own anxiety over growing old as he uses the metaphor of a tree in the fall as he compares himself to the tree.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
John Keats’s “To Autumn” praises the abundance of the season; the harvest, and its transition into winter. The poem uses intense, sensuous imagery to celebrate the life-filled time of the year that is often overshadowed by spring and summer. However, beneath this celebration of life runs a sense of impending decay.
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
This poem captures the transient nature of the fall season and all of life’s beautiful moments. Though it is only eight lines long and simple, it conveys a very deeper meaning. Here, Frost propagates the ultimate truth of life that nothing can last forever, including the ones that are perfect and beautiful.
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
So dawn goes down to day.Nothing gold can stay.
The poem, “Fall, Leaves, Fall” is full of imagery that deals with seasons and its correlation to the flow of life. In the poem, the author is wishing for the coming death as “fall” flows into “winter”. The falling of leaves in the poem symbolizes the idea of death. Bronte sees death as an inevitable part of life which is to be acknowledged.
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
I shall sing when night’s decayUshers in a drearier day.
‘Theme in Yellow’ is written from the perspective of a ‘pumpkin’. Halloween is a festival celebrated during Autumn/Fall and Jack-O-Lantern or the carved pumpkins are the specialty of Halloween. The poem discusses the development of pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern. The poem is titled to refer to the prevalent color of the autumn season, which fills the lands yellow.
I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
And the children know
I am fooling.
“Autumn Song’’ ponders over the changing way of humans with age and their feelings when they realize the approaching the end of their life. The poem begins with the speaker asking his first question to know if the reader is aware of the fact that one feels the most grief “at the fall of the leaf.” The poet compares the fall of the leaves to the approaching death of a person that makes it nothing compared to the anguish of heart in autumn/fall.
Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
And how death seems a comely thingIn Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
‘Plums’ by Gillian Clarke set in the time of the year when the plum trees yield an abundance of fruits. The poem beautifully captures the season of harvesting, the fruits falling from the tree, and the early sunrise of autumn. To put in a nutshell the poem briefs on the joy and beauty of autumn that will not last forever.
When their time comes they fall
without wind, without rain.
formalities. Their black
angles will tear the snow.
In this beautifully written poem, the poet captures the transition of the season from summer to autumn through the simple imageries used. Stevenson has drawn a parallel between the autumn season and a blazing fire. The fire seems to have burnt the flowers and leaves and let them crisp and the shades of yellow, orange, and red of autumn.
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
Flowers in the summer,Fires in the fall!
November for Beginners by Rita Dove
‘November for Beginners’ talks about the poet’s childhood memories of November. She elaborates on what normally happens along with her reception of those days. In its simple style, the poem conveys the poet’s purpose without any discrepancies. The poet describes nature in its all beauty with the controlling image revolving around the poet.
Snow would be the easy
way out—that softening
rain! Sail, wind,with your cargo of zithers!
In this poem ‘The Heat of Autumn’, Jane Hirshfield compares the heat of autumn with the heat of summer. The poet details how one season varies from one to the other. The autumn season is compared to a wife who arranges the things in the closet in spite of knowing that it will be emptied sooner, similar to the season that will soon empty the places.
The heat of autumn
is different from the heat of summer.
on the hook it belongs on in a closet soon to be empty,
and calling it pleasure.
In the ‘First Fall,’ the poet brings to us the beautiful scenes of autumn through the views of a mother who walks her newborn child around during her first fall on earth. The setting and the newborn baby are presented in a beautiful contrast celebrates the fact of life.
I’m your guide here. In the evening-dark
morning streets, I point and name.
come back. I’m desperate for youto love the world because I brought you here.
This poem, ‘l(a (A Leaf Falls with Loneliness)’ is the most innovative poem of E.E. Coming. Despite it being written in a few words, it has captured the readers and the ‘fall’ impressively. The words of the poem “A Leaf Falls with Loneliness” are structured like that of a leaf falling and swaying in the wind. By the way, the words are arranged within parentheses gives this effective picture of emptiness “loneliness”.
‘September Tomatoes’ delineates the feeling of letting go and the emptiness that befalls the harvesting of autumn. The simple act of the poet throwing out the dying tomato plant has a deeper meaning than what one reads for the first time.
The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
and so tied to the season that the very soundseemed to turn the weather.
In ‘Autumn Song,” Sarojini Naidu uses an analogy between personal loss and the frailty of autumn. Like the leaves that are gone with the autumn wind, the poet hopes for herself to be gone from her sorrow and loneliness. The concluding lines of the poem instigate this view of the poet. His poem highlights the idea of moving on in simple language and through the image of Autumn.
Like a joy on the heart of a sorrow,
The sunset hangs on a cloud;
For its dreams like the fluttering leaves have gone,
And why should I stay behind?
In the ‘Japanese Maple’, the poet is talking about a maple tree that was given to him by his daughter. The poet seems to take pleasure in seeing the tree in the back garden of his Cambridge home. Written during the final days of his life, he encourages himself to live until autumn. The time of the year that makes leaves “turn to flame” as it changes color from yellow to orange, and finally to red.
Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone.