I’m writing this article 01 September – the first day of autumn 2010. And тow it is raining behind a window and I understand that the summer has ended. Most people don’t love his season, but I want to show you how it can be beautiful.
The word autumn comes from the Old French word autompne (automne in modern French), and was later normalised to the original Latin word autumnus. There are rare examples of its use as early as the 12th century, but it became common by the 16th century.
Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season. However, as more people gradually moved from working the land to living in towns (especially those who could read and write, the only people whose use of language we now know), the word harvest lost its reference to the time of year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and autumn, as well as fall, began to replace it as a reference to the season.]
The alternative word fall is now mostly a North American English word for the season. It traces its origins to old Germanic languages. The exact derivation is unclear, the Old English fiæll or feallan and the Old Norse fall all being possible candidates. However, these words all have the meaning “to fall from a height” and are clearly derived either from a common root or from each other.
Autumn in poetry has often been associated with melancholy. The possibilities of summer are gone, and the chill of winter is on the horizon. Skies turn grey, and people turn inward, both physically and mentally. Rainer Maria Rilke, a German poet, has expressed such sentiments in one of his most famous poems, Herbsttag (Autumn Day), which readsWho now has no house, will not build one (anymore). Who now is alone, will remain so for long, will wake, and read, and write long letters and back and forth on the boulevards will restlessly wander, while the leaves blow.
Similar examples may be found in Irish poet William Butler Yeats’ poem The Wild Swans at Coole where the maturing season that the poet observes symbolically represents his own aging self. Like the natural world that he observes he too has reached his prime and now must look forward to the inevitability of old age and death. French poet Paul Verlaine’s “Chanson d’automne” (“Autumn Song”) is likewise characterized by strong, painful feelings of sorrow. Keats’ To Autumn, written in September 1819, echoes this sense of melancholic reflection, but also emphasises the lush abundance of the season.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;’