Wednesday, 16 October 2013

St Luke’s Summer

Now is the tolling time
Between the falling and the buried leaf;
A solitary bell
Saddens the soft air with the last knell of summer.

Gone is the swallow’s flight, the curving sheaf;
The plums are bruised that hung from a bent bough,
Wasp-plundered apples in the dew-drenched grass
Lie rotting now.

Doomed with the rest, the daggered hawthorn bleeds
Bright crimson beads
For the birds’ feast.
Gone are the clusters of ripe cherries,
Tart crabs and damsons where a bullfinch tarried,
Only the camp-fire coloured rowan berries
Blaze on.

Now is the time of slow, mist-hindered dawns,
Of sun that stains
Weeds tarnished early in the chilling rains,
Of coarse-cut stubble fields
Where starlings gather, busy with the scant grain,
And with hoarse chattering proclaim
The spent season.

Now are the last days of warm sun
That fires rusted bracken on the hill;
And mellows the deserted trees
Where the last leaves cling, sapless, shrunk, and yellow.

A robin finds some warm October bough
Recapturing his song
Of Aprils gone,
And tardy blackbirds in the late-green larch
Remember March.

Phoebe Hesketh 

St Luke’s-tide lovers exchange tokens and set the wedding date.

It was anciently very customary  . . . .to break a piece of Gold or Silver in token of a verbal contract of marriage and promises of love; one half whereof was kept by the woman, while the other part remained with the man.

Brand Popular Antiquities 1813


  1. This captured the essence of autumn's beauty for me. I truly love this time of year so very much. Have a beautiful Wednesday :)

  2. Lovely poem and I am not sure that I know the will have to look her up.

  3. Ooops. Hit return before I also wanted to praise these lovely photos!!

  4. The poem and your pictures are beautiful

  5. Lovely reflective poem and illustrations. Too sad for me who sees sodden leaves and cracked pots everywhere. And yes, those sneaky winter weeds creeping into the bare patches. Dianne

  6. Poetic. Romantic. Beautiful pictures. Who could ask for more?

  7. I've made it through another summer. I find summer a down hill season, I enjoyed the poem though I don't agree with it's sentiments.
    I'm still waiting for a massive vista of autumn colour.

  8. het is net zo mooi als de herfst zelf.

  9. Your photos illustrate this lovely poem perfectly, Friko. I had to look up Phoebe Hesketh, and I see she loved to write about nature, and that she lived to a ripe old age. I wonder if love of nature and a long life go together. I hope so, for that will mean you'll be with us for quite some time to come.

  10. whoa whoa whoa...lets not get to snow yet....let me enjoy the autumn evenings still....smiles...lovely pics...i would love to stay in this moment just a bit...smiles.

  11. Stunning poem. Stunning. I expected to see a famous name at the end of it and was surprised to be unfamiliar with the poet. Thank you so much.

  12. I love 'wasp-plundered'. So right.

  13. What a wonderful poem. The mark of a truly talented poet. Wish I could write like that and am glad someone existed who could.

  14. Oh but this was a lovely post! Catching up on all you've written while I've been gone - you've been busy!

  15. What an amazing poem! I'm not familiar with the author. And your pictures are perfection!

  16. Such a wonderful poem and the pictures are incredible. Yes, all those Aprils gone... but there are many more ahead, if I am lucky. :-)

  17. Beautiful post Friko. Thanks.
    Anna :o]

  18. Everything about this post is lovely -- the photos, the poem, the info at the end. I do love this season -- but it is all too short.

  19. How very, very beautiful. Thank you.

  20. Thank you for bringing to my attention a poem I might never have seen otherwise. Didn't know that the broken-token tradition was associated with this time of year either though it turns up in lots of the old songs.

  21. Beautiful, just beautiful - it seems Mother Nature is most busy as our most colourful season of growth comes to and end. I love these photos. I enjoyed the poem very much, have never heard of this, will check out the Author. Thanks so much.

  22. Beautiful, vivid poem and lovely photos that fit perfectly. :)

  23. The beautiful photos of Autumn leaves (so varied in colouring) set to the poetry, makes a lovely combination.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  24. You drench me with your artistry.

    Thank you!


  25. "where the last leaves cling, sapless, shrunk, and yellow" - beautiful images, beautiful words in this post. And I see that cyclamen grows wild, or at least freely, in your climate as well. I pass through a wooded area where they are blooming now, looking a little out of place with their fresh pinkness.

  26. Both words and images have turned me over. Wonderful.

  27. Dear Friko, your selection of photographs to illustrate and enhance the poem were exceptional. My favorite lines from that lovely elegy are "Where starlings gather, busy with the scant grain,/And with hoarse chattering proclaim/
    The spent season.)

  28. Lovely and I do enjoy the bits and pieces of the past, but, your summers are too short for me.

  29. You have make beautiful photos!

  30. I thought you had written this and was spellbound. I DO like your writing very much... but I find Phoebe Hesketh amazing! Your photos certainly honor her words.

    I have added her to my list of books to buy. I see she has quit a few - do you have a favorite of hers?

  31. Beautiful, beautiful pictures, dear Friko. You've captured the true essence of my favourite season, and I really thank you for that.

  32. How wonderful! I miss the fall season in Illinois, where I was a child.

  33. What a perfect blend of words and images. Gorgeous.

  34. What beautiful photos and what a lovely poem. Thank you, Friko. xoxox

  35. I really enjoyed this post. Your mix of words and beautiful fall pictures was stunning.

  36. Wonderful autumn shots and words.

  37. Hi Friko - beautiful photos to accompany the poem ... our leaves are still on - more wind threatens with more trees to descend heavily to the ground ... the last one I didn't hear! Interesting about St Luke's-tide-lovers ... Cheers .. Hilary


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