Monday Funday Photo of the Week: Ode to Autumn

To celebrate the beginning of a new month and the turning of the season, this week’s Monday Funday Photo of the Week depicts the beauty and joy of fall foliage with an ‘ode to autumn’. The poem below was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar and is entitled Merry Autumn, a selection from his 1896 book of poetry called Lyrics of Lowly Life. Be active this Autumn by observing and recording plant life for Project BudBurst’s Fall Equinox Event: Fall into Phenology. Submissions will be accepted through October 10th; now’s the time to enjoy the great outdoors!

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It’s all a farce,–these tales they tell
About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o’er field and dell,
Because the year is dying.

Such principles are most absurd,–
I care not who first taught ‘em;
There’s nothing known to beast or bird
To make a solemn autumn.

In solemn times, when grief holds sway
With countenance distressing,
You’ll note the more of black and gray
Will then be used in dressing.

Now purple tints are all around;
The sky is blue and mellow;
And e’en the grasses turn the ground
From modest green to yellow.

The seed burs all with laughter crack
On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
Are all decked out in crimson.

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A butterfly goes winging by;
A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
Is bubbling o’er with laughter.

The ripples wimple on the rills,
Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
And laughs among the grasses.

The earth is just so full of fun
It really can’t contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
The heavens seem to rain it.

Don’t talk to me of solemn days
In autumn’s time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
And these grow slant and slender.

Why, it’s the climax of the year,–
The highest time of living!–
Till naturally its bursting cheer
Just melts into thanksgiving. 

2011-09-27_76690_nature.JPGPhoto Credits: My Shot Your Shot: Judy Pearson & Scott Bergenfeld
As always, feel free to contact us at NatGeoEd@ngs.org with questions or comments.
–Julia for My Wonderful World

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