Smith Mountain Lake is beautiful in each of its seasons, some would say especially in the fall. There is something magnetic about large bodies of water, and our lake is no exception. It is a feast for the eyes and ears and even the nose.
Here are a few bits of poetry you may find as enjoyable as I did, from author John Clare. John lived from 1793 to 1864, and he must have loved the autumn, because he tried to capture its magic in prose.
Autumn by John Clare (English, 1793-1864)
The thistledown’s flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting, it bubbles red hot.
The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.
Hilltops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we’re eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.
Autumn II by John Clare (English, 1793-1864)
I love the fitful gust that shakes
The casement all the day,
And from the glossy elm tree takes
The faded leaves away,
Twirling them by the window pane
With thousand others down the lane.
I love to see the shaking twig
Dance till the shut of eve,
The sparrow on the cottage rig,
Whose chirp would make believe
That Spring was just now flirting by
In Summer’s lap with flowers to lie.
I love to see the cottage smoke
Curl upwards through the trees,
The pigeons nestled round the cote
On November days like these;
The cock upon the dunghill crowing,
The mill sails on the heath a-going.
The feather from the raven’s breast
Falls on the stubble lea,
The acorns near the old crow’s nest
Drop pattering down the tree;
The grunting pigs, that wait for all,
Scramble and hurry where they fall.
AUTUMN BIRDS by John Clare (English, 1793-1864)
The wild duck startles, like a sudden thought
And heron slow as if it might be caught
The flopping crows on weary wing go bye
And grey beard jackdaws noising as they flye
The crowds of starnels wiz and hurry bye
And darken like a cloud the evening sky
The larks like thunder rise and suthy round
Then drop and nestle in the stubble ground
The wild swan hurries high and noises loud
With neck necks peering to the evening cloud
The weary rooks to distant woods are gone
With length of tail, the magpie winnows on
To neighboring tree and leaves the distant crow
While small birds nestle in the hedge below.