OPINION: Fall poems to read during the break

DJ Stover, Commentary writer

The leaves are falling off the branches and the weather is unbelievable. Everyone is doing all things fall: jumping into piles of leaves, taking pictures of the overflowing autumn scene, enjoying the nice, cool air. 

Fall is my favorite season, and also my favorite time on campus, mainly because of how beautiful and colorful it gets. Also, I love being able to snuggle up in my bed with a good book.

Another thing I love about fall is that it makes me want to read more poetry. Now, I don’t have any chapbooks I can snuggle up with, but I have my phone and laptop. It doesn’t have the same vibe, but it has the same effect. 

As a poetry lover and it being the fall season, I decided to come up with a list of poems that pertain to fall. I believe you want to read these, so enjoy this list of great and amazing poems!

#4 – “To Autumn” by John Keats 

Born on October 31, 1795 in London, John Keats was an English poet who unfortunately died at the young age of 25 from tuberculosis. His poems were in publication less than four years before his death but quickly gained fame after passing.

Throughout his life, Keats wrote many poems including “Ode to a Nightingale,” “When I Have Fears” and “Endymion.” One of his poems that was composed in 1819 and published in 1820, “To Autumn,” as you can guess, is about autumn. 

“To Autumn” gives off major fall vibes and not just because of the title, but because of how autumn-y it is. With lines like “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness / Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun,” and “To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees / And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core.”

This poem praises autumn, explaining its harvest and transition to the winter season. Keats uses intense imagery all throughout the poem, describing the fall season and everything it brings. 

This poem is definitely a poem to read during autumn, maybe even more than once!

#3 – “First Fall” by Maggie Smith 

Maggie Smith is an American poet, freelance writer, and editor. She is most known for “Good Bones,” her poem that was published in June 2016, which is read by an estimated one million people.

One of her poems, “First Fall,” which was published in 2017, embodies the autumn season. “First Fall” is written from the perspective of a mother who is taking her infant for a walk. 

While walking, the mother is explaining the beauty of the fall season to her child, hoping the child will grow to love the world as she does. 

In the poem, the mother points out the “mottled, paint by number bark” and “the leaves rusting and crisping at the edges.” The mother also points out animals that are freely wandering the park they’re walking in. 

Overall, this is a beautifully written poem about how gorgeous and delightful fall is. “First Fall” is the go-to poem when it comes to the fall season. 

#2 – “Song for Autumn” by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award for Poetry and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry before she passed away in January 2019. 

Her poem, “Song for Autumn,” was published in 2005 and in this poem, Oliver challenges readers to imagine how trees, birds and leaves must be feeling during the fall season. 

Mary Oliver also displays lots of imagery and detail in “Song for Autumn.” The entirety of the poem emanates so much detail that I can imagine the scenes in my head. Each line brings something new and presents more imagery to fall. 

This poem captures the beauty of the autumn season and how beautiful and breathtaking it is, and I think Mary Oliver did an amazing job writing this. 

#1 – Sonnet 73 by Shakespeare 

There’s no one more original and authentic than William Shakespeare. 

If you don’t already know (I don’t know how), William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet and actor. Shakespeare is most known for his works “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Tempest,” “Hamlet,” “Julius Caesar” and more.

Out of his many poems though, “Sonnet 73” is about, if you can guess, autumn! All throughout reading the poem, you get that sense of fall and that’s mainly because of Shakespeare’s wordplay and descriptiveness. 

My favorite line in “Sonnet 73” that displays that sense of autumn is “That time of year thou mayst in me behold / When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang / Upon those boughs which shake against the cold.”

Shakespeare stayed true to the autumn theme within this poem and that’s what made it great. Shakespeare’s works are always beautifully written and this poem is an example of that. 

So, now that you have read this wonderful list of mine, I hope you’ll read these beautiful and spectacular poems as I certainly enjoyed reading them. I also hope this list inspired you to research other fall poems to read for fun. 

DJ Stover: Commentary writer DJ Stover can be reached at [email protected].