Fallidays

a poem which began as I was driving to work through the darkness and fog that appeared on the first day of October…

October awakens
in the night.
She rises in silence,
stirring white veils of fog
within the world’s
darkened bedchamber.

She knows
I am awake, too,
watching,
and that I am aware
it was not as dark
yesterday morning
at this same time
when September
was still here.
October gathers

her black satin robes
shimmering silver
in the moonlight.
She whispers of magic
and I shiver

just before the sun bursts forth
like a famous artist
with palette in tow-

There is no blue without yellow
and without orange,
and if you put in the blue,
then you must put in the yellow
and orange too,
mustn’t you?” 
and suddenly everything is
yellow and orange and blinding blue
with flecks of scarlet and brown
against the still-green
canvas.
For all her dark mystery
and the death-shroud she carries,
October doesn’t speak
of endings.

She points instead
-see that golden thread glittering
there in her sleeve?-
to celebrations just ahead.

Ah, October.
I see you
disguising your smile
as you creak open
nature’s ancient alchemical doors,
reverently ushering
in
the leaf-bejeweled holiness
that I shall henceforth call
the ‘fallidays’.

“Female ghost”WhiteAnGeL ❤.CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

How would you personify early October?
It is difficult to find a photo of a veiled figure comparable to the dark morning bands of fog.

“Figure In The Fog”. paulmcdeeCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The quote, “There is no blue without yellow and without orange…” comes from Van Gogh, written in a letter to his brother. I have used it several times in poems. Seems especially fitting here for the colors of October, illuminated by the artist-sun.

“Symphony of autumn colors”. PeterThoeny. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

******

with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the weekly Slice of Life Story Writing Challenge
(even when my small-moment story morphs into poetry)

18 thoughts on “Fallidays

  1. You were blessed by a poem. October changes things, but here in the south the changes are more subtle, not as brilliantly colored. I love how your October doesn’t speak of endings but points to the celebrations ahead. So much excitement in the air for Halloween and beyond. Thanks for sharing this inspiring poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The poem did bless me, Margaret – what a gift it is, when an image or line springs to mind, urging one to spin, build, peel, create, discover…thank you for the way you have captured the very essence of the poem in your own words!

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  2. Wow, Fran! This is beautiful! I love your personification of October. You hooked me with this “She rises in silence, stirring white veils of fog within the world’s darkened bedchamber.” In these lines I love how you personify October into a women and your how you shiver in response. I also notice how you continue with your /s/ alliteration “October gathers her black satin robes shimmering silver in the moonlight. She whispers of magic and I shiver just before the sun bursts forth like a famous artist with palette in tow.” I also love how you make me see these colors “suddenly everything is yellow and
    orange and blinding blue with flecks of scarlet and brown against the still-green canvas.” I resonate with these lines because I have always thought of the changes of color and the changes in the kinds of clouds that form in October as a celebration. “She points instead-see that golden thread glittering
    there in her sleeve?-to celebrations just ahead.” I love how you talk to her next in “disguising your smile as you creak open nature’s ancient alchemical doors,” and how you end telling her “the leaf-bejeweled holiness
    that I shall henceforth call the ‘fallidays’.” Great ending! Your imagery and personification brought October alive! Thank you for sharing this amazing poem, joy and inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for an amazing reply, Gail! I had such fun peeling back the many layers of October and trying to convey her unique mystique. I did not expect the sun to appear as an artist but as October seems to arise in the night, the sun had an important part to play, especially in revealing the glorious colors. I have used the “no blue without yellow and orange” quote from Van Gogh several times in poems; it seemed so fitting here for the artist-sun. Delighted that you enjoyed and I so appreciate your words!

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  3. Fran, what a beautiful poem about this moment ushering in October. I love the personification of October, especially in these beautiful lines:
    “October gathers
    her black satin robes
    shimmering silver
    in the moonlight.”
    I’m a bit out of touch when it comes to fall weather, as this is my 8th October in Manama, where this week the weather has dipped below 100F, so there’s that. We’ll need sweaters very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Denise. In North Carolina, the days are still ranging from mid 70s to 80 degrees. The evenings and mornings are delightfully cooler – hence those veils of fog that appear so punctually with the arrival of October. Your words remind me of a friend who lives in Florida; she said the biggest drawback is not seeing the leaves turn and it getting cold for Christmas. Still near 100F where you are – gracious!!

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  4. This poem is a beautiful homage to nature. Your use of personification makes us feel like we’re voyeurs watching her dance into being, yet understanding your metaphors on another level at the same time. Thank you for your lyrical ode to October.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m just going to say this. There’s something magical you do with word choice, Fran. You somehow pick the single words for the spaces that need them most: creak, glittering, rises in silence, shimmering, whisper, ancient alchemical doors (OH! there’s so much packed in there!). It’s hard to envision October as anything else other than the way you’ve so clearly brought her to us. Still, you have me inspired to try.

    October. Is she old? Wise? Grand and grave? Mischievous? And…is there a reason I’m stuck on “she?” I’ll have to think on this, Fran!

    Liked by 1 person

    • October comes wrapped in so many layers…it was fun trying to unwind them, to capture the variegation… I should love to see how you personify October, Lainie! I cannot explain why it feels so like “she” – perhaps hints of Demeter? But I do not see October much like the typical depictions of Demeter – no garland on her head, robes not so Greek, but infinitely shrouded in mystery and anticipation. There’s a piercing beauty about her, and – to me – a sense of promise. You must let me know if you write of October, and I so appreciate these words.

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  6. Fran, this is a work of sheer beauty. I often stop at the stop sign at the corner to take a snapshot of the steam swirling off the pond. This gives me touching goosebumps –

    She rises in silence,
    stirring white veils of fog

    I love the feeling and the imagery. And the thought, “Fran loves swirling fog too!” Those mists that mystify.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I DO love swirling fog, Kim! There’s a pond that I pass on the way to school that I should love to photograph in the morning – one of these days I shall figure out where to pull over to get my shot. “Mists that mystify” – pure and lovely truth. Stirs one’s spirit (shall I say our kindred ones?) It’s amazing to me how immediately October makes her presence known. So grateful for you and your words!

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  7. There is excitement in the fallidays that you share with us, Fran. I would like to walk with you and jot thoughts down in a notebook, later to fall into a poem’s embrace. You certainly make me want to grasp all that October offers as does your main character. Happy Fall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Fall into a poem’s embrace” is such an enchanting phrase, Carol! October does arrive with an air of excitement and anticipation. It invites this “falling.” When I shared the poem with fourth graders this week as an example of personification, they picked up on many things and understood the layer (and fun wordplay) of ‘fallidays’. Many thanks for your words.

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