Friday, October 18, 2013

"The Golden Pomp of Autumn"

"Again the old heraldic pomp
Of Autumn on the hills..."

From "An Autumn Song" by Clinton Scollard
Woman's Home Companion September 1901

I look out the window and see the belly of a red-tailed hawk show white as he soars against the backdrop of an October blue sky here at Valley View.

All colors of autumn leaves--as in Edward A. Thomas' 1863 lines, "The opal pomp of autumn's dyes"--paint the hillside pasture leading up to our son and daughter-in-law's house perched high above us.

The crabapple tree across the creek is heavy with fruit this year.

Of those who grow melancholic during the days of autumn, those who sob when they hear the months of September, October, November pealed off in the hauntingly beautiful "September Song," I have no meeting ground. I am not wired along those lines myself. I would surely feel bittersweet about autumn if great sorrow overtook me at that time of year but might even then be comforted by its beauty.

As to my own mortality, something one cannot help but ponder as the years march on, I believe if faced with it in autumn, I would be like Honore de Balzac's Mme. Willemsens in La Grenadiere when confronted by her own approaching death. She requests her son Louis to carry her outside to see once more the glory of the French countryside in October.

"And the pale woman,
with the great tired eyes and languid movements,
never uttered a word of complaint,
and smiled upon her children,
so full of life and health--it was a sublime picture,
lacking no melancholy autumn pomp
of yellow leaves and half-despoiled branches,
nor the softened sunlight
and pale clouds of the skies of Touraine."
Honore de Balzac

Is it any wonder that so many writers have used the one word that so aptly describes the glory of autumn--pomp? I adore that word! Of all the written examples, Washington Irving's golden pomp of autumn may be most familiar.

"...the golden pomp of autumn,
earth with its mantle of refreshing green,
and heaven with its deep, delicious blue
and its cloudy magnificence--
all fill us with mute but exquisite delight."

Irving knew and loved and wrote of the pleasures of all the seasons of nature and man, and he knew how to leave the reader with words that evoke all the majesty of the last fling of the year before winter arrives. Pomp is the perfect word because my old and weighty two-volumne 1936 Webster's Universal Dictionary proclaims pomp to be "a solemn procession distinguished by ostentation of grandeur and splendor."

Heady words, grandeur and splendor, but well deserved by divine autumn. From autumn's first wine-sweet days that make us itch to gather in the last of summer's garden bounty, through football days that fill us with nostalgia for our youth, to the later wild wet days that shake down the last colored crinkly leaves, we must absorb each moment of this grandeur and pomp that is autumn.


  1. BEAUTIFUL photos and words! Calming and peaceful.

  2. "And the days dwindle down to a precious few..."

  3. Now I'm going to hear the word "pomp" in my head everywhere I go today! LOL! I think I'll use "grandeur and splendor" in a sentence today, also. We are still pretty green here in SC, but I'm looking forward to the pomp of autumn on its way! Beautiful photos and words!

  4. Dewena, I love this post. Your displays are so pretty too. xoxo,Susie

  5. Wonderful post-you describe the autumn atmosphere beautifully!

  6. Beautiful Dewena ~ I loved this post! and the way you describe as if I was reading a beautiful book...

  7. Beautiful Words Beautiful is very spectacular all the colors, the air, the fragrance, ejoy your weekend!

    To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
    There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
    And a time to every purpose, under Heaven by The Byrds

  8. Love the photos and the giant dinner bell is so charming! Great thoughts on the pomp of it all.

  9. One of your loveliest posts, Deweena!

  10. Dear Dewena,

    Do you know that after reading and pondering every fascinating quotation and/or excerpt you presented to illustrate the ‘’golden pomp of autumn’’, YOURS was the one I found most compelling! In fact, I had to retrace my steps back a few lines to double check if I had skipped over any acknowledgment of an author, while wildly wondering to whom these captivating words belonged?!!

    Dewena, your OWN emotional sentiments on the ‘’golden pomp of autumn’’ describe this 'seasoned' season, with its many facets and moods, so richly, like the full bodied amber and deep burgundy of its falling foliage, a brilliant pageantry, although short-lived. Perhaps this unfortunate fact is what makes autumn so precious, as shortly following such a 'fall', we know to expect another descent: one, into winter - a blanket of monochromatic freeze; a snowy, white wonderland to some, but a barren blockade to others, and a stark contrast to Thomas’ ‘’autumn's dyes".

    I choose YOUR ''sweet days that make us itch to gather in the last of summer's garden bounty, through football days that fill us with nostalgia for our youth'', and if I could visualize such days, they would, without a doubt, materialize into the bucolic images that paint your riveting words here today.

    Wishing you a glorious weekend!


    1. Dewena and Poppy, you both describe so beautifully the bittersweet magical season of fall. Rich with scents, sounds of rustling leaves and filled with nostalgic memories of my youth. It's a beautiful time filled with pomp and glory but so short-lived. Mother Nature in all her glory puts on a fabulous show before the barren trees of winter descend upon us. Winter a time for renewal, quiet, introspection. A time to settle in with a good book or two.

  11. This is beautiful, Dewena.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  12. Beautiful photos. Beautiful words...

  13. Dewena, this is such a delightful ode to Autumn and with the beautiful photos...perfect!

  14. Visiting your blog is never a waste of is like a pleasurable lesson in literature. Time well spent with beautiful words. I think I may have to come visit you for some real autumn glory.

  15. Beautiful Fall photos, Dewena. I love the way the sunlight is shining on the pumpkin in the first photo. Definite pomp in your photos. The literary quotes are beautiful too. laurie

  16. So elegant! I have enjoyed my visit today! These words are so beautifully written. Your photos are wonderful and you pull it all together beautifully.


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