Influences: John Keats’ “To Autumn”

Upon hearing it alluded to on an NPR program this morning, I began to remember this poem. The deep swell of feeling I had in recalling it signalled to me just how much of an influence this poem has had upon me, upon my aesthetics, both literary and photographic. Such influences generally are not a conscious thing, but tend to bubble up and seep out in my own work. Sometimes I wonder whether some plagiarists (and I emphasize only some) are not victims of such unconscious borrowing, such unintended stealing of works they love so much.

The first three words of the poem are the title I gave to a novel I began to write in the 1990s. The personification in the first stanza (which is my favorite) of a nature god or goddess, of sorts, blessing and causing the harvest to be bountiful is amazing with its overflowingness. I like the identification of Autumn with various humans in stanza 2 as well. I have incorporated the image of the wind softly lifting someone’s hair in a poem of my own. As for the last stanza, I only recently I wrote a haiku of Autumn talking back to Spring. And in this stanza, the sense of diminishment and ending is palable, which seems to be sinking on to one like dusk.



SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.


Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.


Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

New Developments in the Haiku Contest: Results Still Out on Saturday

Dear contestants and others who wait with anticipation for the results of the The Dassler Effect’s 2nd Annual Haiku Contest to come out on Saturday,

As I was waiting to see whether my final judge would reply with results, I sent out a plea to several other literary friends, and as result have two other judges who are now judging. In the meantime, my final judge indicated that the results would be in tonight. So, as a result (no pun intended, but appreciated) now instead of 5 fine judges for this contest we have 7. I do not think this should matter to the contestants as you have not been seeing the poll numbers come in, so to speak, and, in my opinion, having more qualified judges only makes the final result stronger. And it is shaping up to be a most interesting result, indeed. I know, I am such a tease. Only a little while longer…