Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Off The Shelf Archives~October

Fall is blowing in, and for once, it is cool and crisp even here in the Dust Bowl. My favorite season, Halloween (yes, for me it is an entire season) is here, and with it all the haunting music of the end of summer and the beginning of change. So I am not dithering about this month, but changing out the Off The Shelf selection to match the impending onslaught of fall colors with a short, brooding  poem by Emily Dickinson called by it's first line "The name of it is Autumn..."

In other news, I will once again be keeping with an All Hallows theme this month, as I have for the past few years, so you can expect a bit more of the dark to be showing up. My muse has been absent without leave a lot lately, but I will post whenever she deigns to cooperate.

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Without further ado, then, here is Emily Dickinson on the Off The Shelf Page, and below, last month's selection Personal Helicon, by Seamus Heaney, for a last persual:

Personal Helicon
for Michael Longley

As a child, they could not keep me from wells
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells
Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.

One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
I savoured the rich crash when a bucket
Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection in it.

A shallow one under a dry stone ditch
Fructified like any aquarium.
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch
A white face hovered over the bottom.

Others had echoes, gave back your own call
With a clean new music in it. And one
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.

Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime,
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.

~Seamus Heaney

Image: Fountain in the Garden of Saint Paul Hospital, 1889, Vincent Van Gogh
via wikipaintings.org


  1. ever furthering my education...rather like the last line of this...setting the darkness to echoing...we always had a well house so it was covered over...as a kid i might have crawled in a well to see where it went so probably good we did not have one...

  2. A beautiful poem and itself rather All Hallows' y--thanks for the revisit. He is so wonderful textural and sensual in terms of smells, sounds--as well as poetic. I am sorry about your muse. Travails continue on my end - awful. Am getting near end of some tether. Perhaps there is something in the air! Take care. k.

  3. an excellent chestnut

  4. Brilliant. Just brilliant. My muse is also MIA recently. Perhaps they are off together having such wild and wicked adventures as befit the season.

  5. wonderful share, I had not read this one. it is stirring things around in my thoughts and senses.

  6. This is a damp, dark piece of work. I like it.

  7. Darker than usual in October?
    (Clutches a Rosary and shivers)


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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