Poetry and Music for October

The trees are in their autumn beauty, The woodland paths are dry, Under the October twilight the water Mirrors a still sky; Upon the brimming water among the stones Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me Since I first made my count; I saw, before I had well finished, All suddenly mount And scatter wheeling in great broken rings Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures, And now my heart is sore. All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight, The first time on this shore, The bell-beat of their wings above my head, Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover, They paddle in the cold Companionable streams or climb the air; Their hearts have not grown old; Passion or conquest, wander where they will, Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water, Mysterious, beautiful; Among what rushes will they build, By what lake’s edge or pool Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day To find they have flown away?

"The Wild Swans at Coole" by William Butler Yeats. Born in 1865, W.B. Yeats became a prominent Irish poet in 20th century literature. Yeats was fascinated by poetry from an early age, and his first volume of verse was published in 1889, at the age of 24. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.1

Symphony No. 10 "To Autumn Time" by Joseph Joachim Raff. Born in 1822, Raff was a German-Swiss composer and pianist. Largely self-taught, Raff’s piano compositions were first published in 1844 to favorable reviews. Though Raff has been largely forgotten today, he was one of the most well-known and prolific German composers during his lifetime.2

Notes: 1. More of W.B. Yeats biography can be found here. 2. More of Joseph Joachim Raff’s biography can be found here.

Alisa Williams is Spirituality Editor at SpectrumMagazine.org. Photo Credit: Paolo Gadler / FreeImages.com

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A glorious Yeats poem…thank-you!