Where are the Songs of Fall?

I’m back! Day two of daily art blogging success *pats self on back.* Anyway… as I mentioned in my last post I’m trying to write a series of poems about fall to go with “Bloom & Martyr,” which is all about flowers, to make a book that would have been less than 50% published. Right. “Bloom & Martyr” just enveloped me when I wrote it. I completed 65 poems in like, no time at all (a week or something?). This fall poem thing, however, is turning out to be more of a labour for a few reasons. First, and foremost I think, I think I used all the good, foliage-related textural words I know up in “Bloom & Martyr” and every time I try to write a fall poem I think “hmm I’m pretty sure I used all that language in the flower poems so I shouldn’t be doing it here or it’ll get boring.” Both “Bloom & Martyr” and this thing I’m trying to work on now are written in a Steinian, a-grammatical style so that build up of mood based on odd juxtapositions of words, so this thing about running out of good words rather than say, good images or ideas is a thing, in this case. The other issue is a grief one - I’m trying to draw inspiration from a landscape that really makes me think about my dad and his art depicting the prairies and his love of that landscape and that makes it difficult to write about when I’m not wanting to write about those subjects. And finally, and this one does tie in with the grief issue a bit - is how strongly the metaphor between fall and human death is drawn. Walking in Nose Hill, and whenever I try to write about fall, the first thing that pops into my head is “Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?” from Keats’ “To Autumn.” And then I feel sad about poor Keats dying at 25, and I then I get sadder thinking about death and loss more generally and specifically, etc. But this reaction to fall, I think, is rather manufactured for me. I really love fall - I mean Keats also has some lovely things to say about fall in his poem but he’s still equating it with death and decline. But there’s nothing dead about the sharpness of the light, the luminous and incredibly variety of colours, the dramatic clouds, and the cool breeze. Actually I like early winter too - the incredible freshness of the first snowfalls and the contrast of the white snow on the wet cement and evergreens is gorgeous. Indeed, in my case my father’s eyeSnowScape art project, which he started and which we later worked on together, depended on winter for its canvas, and that was and is a great wellspring of joy and life for us. My father also passed in July, the supposedly full-of-life time of the year. This layering of the phases of a human life on the cycle of the seasons isn’t really all that perfect a fit, and in a way I feel like it’s obstructing my ability to see and write about fall the way I really feel about it. Fall doesn’t truly feel like a time of decline and death to me. July of 2018 was a time of loss, followed by the horrible smoke that blanketed Alberta for weeks - that felt like a season of death, both personal and on a mass, planetary scale. But I find fall absolutely incredible and full of life. It has grief woven into it the way all things have grief woven into them, yes, but in the case of fall for me that’s done in a way that embraces and remembers and celebrates life rather than dwelling on its end. So if I haven’t really used the good words all up I would like to be able to get there, to write about it like that, without the metaphor of human death layered on it. Just the colours, just the change, just the beauty of it. I want to revel in it and celebrate it.