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Welcome to Autumn: “The Harvest Moon”

September 23, 2010

Ted Hughes’ “The Harvest Moon”

The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.
The harvest moon has come,
Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.

So people can’t sleep,
So they go out where elms and oak trees keep
A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come!

And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep
Stare up at her petrified, while she swells
Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing
Closer and closer like the end of the world.

Till the gold fields of stiff wheat
Cry `We are ripe, reap us!’ and the rivers
Sweat from the melting hills.


When I was a kid/teen, I always knew when autumn started. You could hear the high school marching band practice in the distance, it would get darker earlier, and the makeshift store around the corner would sell Frito pies.

5 Comments
  1. September 23, 2010 8:19 am

    Well, it’s spring time for me, which means my days are no longer grey and half-arsedly raining and all the trees that aren’t Indigenous are starting to flower again. All the native plants I’ve got in my garden are starting to settle down a bit for the hot summer ahead.

    I miss northern hemisphere weather 😦

  2. Mary Sunshine permalink
    September 23, 2010 10:03 am

    Equinox and the full moon coincide this year.

    I love these cosmic events.

  3. la redactora permalink
    September 23, 2010 11:07 am

    I cannot think of Ted Hughes without thinking of some Erica Jong book I read ages ago. I think it was called Seducing the Demon (generally not worth the read. But when I read it was…educational in a ‘what not to do’ sort of way). Anyway, she had a bit about seeing Ted Hughes somewhere at a party, thinking he “still had it” and pondering whether she should sleep with him. Then she was all, wait a second, this guy has a track record that even *I* don’t want to deal with. So yeah, you can just call me AW Off Topic…

  4. Anne permalink
    October 1, 2010 1:03 am

    I don’t really like autumn as for some reasons it makes me feel lonely. Not that this wouldn’t be my own fault in many cases…..I try very hard to distance myself from most people that actually try to get closer to me, and than ask myself why everybody around me seem to have a lot of friends, eventually a boyfriend/girlfriend and I only have one, maybe two friends 🙂

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