On the last night of October, I thought I’d go back to my Sunday Poem feature that I started earlier this year and share one of my favourite autumn poems.
The Wild Swans at Coole
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water,
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
I managed to finish Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger a few days ago and although I didn’t know it when I started, it was indeed a spooky Halloween read. I won’t say much about it, but it subtly creeeeped me out. The book starts out fairly normally, but takes a ghostly turn near the end… The best part for me was the setting: an apartment in London (I actually felt like I was living in it while I was reading) right next to Highgate Cemetery, which I must now visit the next time I’m in London. So my experiment in reading books recently published that are actually in stock in bookstores (unlike Persephone books, say) was mixed, I was glued to it while it lasted, but the ending was a bit too disturbing for me. I was hoping one of the characters would find a normal solution to her problems (like growing a spine maybe), instead of looking to a ghost to help her escape from her problems, never a good idea I say! Others who’ve read it, what did you think of the ending?
And since it is Halloween, what is your favourite cemetery? Mine is the Pere Lachaise in Paris, where I spent a romantic rainy afternoon on my honeymoon, arguing over the best way to find the graves of Marcel Proust and Oscar Wilde… (that’s my husband in the photo).