Poem in October.

A springful of larks in a rolling

Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
      Blackbirds and the sun of October
            On the hill’s shoulder….

A special favourite of mine, Dylan ThomasPoem in October was written on the occasion of his 30th birthday.  The poem marks the passage of time and the changing of the seasons, and reflects upon the themes of renewal and mortality.   The bucolic scene I’ve quoted above gives way “To the rain wringing/Wind blow cold/In the wood faraway under me,” and I’m feeling it as I’m dodging sleety raindrops and trying to put my flowerbeds to rest for the winter.  Planting bulbs, pulling up spent annuals, mulching for protection – it’s easy to understand the “renewal” and “mortality” stuff.  I’m definitely sad that summer is over.  But, as in life (and in poetry), eager anticipation for what is just around the corner keeps us gardeners plugging away at it, season after season.

Besides, I need the next few wintery months to get through all the seed catalogues and gardening books (and poetry) I have on my “to-read” list!  😉

What garden plans or projects are you working on this month?

(To read Poem in October by Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) in its entirety, check out this issue of Poetry magazine.  If you want to hear a recording of Thomas himself reading his work, click here).

Paskapoo Slopes, Calgary

A handful of carrots


Autumn foliage of creeping blue speedwell

‘Touchstone Gold’ beets

Goldenrod gall, Paskapoo Slopes, Calgary

Related posts: 

Your Hand (Meanwhile, Melody Muses…)

October Garden (MapleLeafGardening)

Red Blaze (Imagery of Light)


  1. Well, let’s see. I need to re-dig the garden edging. Cut back the stalks of the perennials. Pull out the dead plants from the vegetable garden. Plant my bulbs – 90 tulips and 400 crocus. Some other things I can’t think of.

    • Tons of work ahead of you, I see! Just the bulb planting alone is a lot! 🙂 Are you “naturalizing” your crocuses in a lawn, or are you putting them in a bed? Drifts of those sort of numbers must look so wonderful. I don’t have room to put that many in!

  2. Garden work is pretty much done (except for watering and mulching) and it will be nice to find some time in on a wintery weekend to do some garden inspired reading. Thanks for the bit of poetry and rich autumn images to accompany this post. Autumn always makes me feel a bit reflective for some reason, so this fit my mood perfectly. Cheers!

    • Thanks so much, Barbara! 🙂 I guess another benefit of the onset of winter is that we have a bit of time to rest and take things at a much slower pace, which is something a whole lot of us need. And we can make great plans for the garden for next year – I know I have so many things I want to try out or do differently!

  3. Lovely words – I do like Dylan Thomas occasionally. My autumn jobs are similar to yours – bulb planting (which I’ve been putting off as I ordered so many!), mulching, and cutting down a few things that won’t survive the wind and rain (or snow) this winter. I love the work and being out there, but ache afterwards!

    • It IS a trade-off at this time of year – on one hand, you have the joy of planting so many bulbs and tidying everything up…and on the other, the cold temperatures and dampness make for a rather miserable and uncomfortable gardening experience. Snow is on its way here this afternoon so it may cut short my garden activity for a bit. I haven’t finished mulching yet. Oh well, this skiff of the white stuff won’t last too long, it’s not quite cold enough.

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