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Autumn Fires

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Does anyone still burn leaves in the fall?

When I was a kid my Dad raked leaves into bushel baskets (remember those?) and piled them at the end of the driveway, away from the house and the garage. Then he set fire to them and carefully tended them until they were burned to ashes.

All this became illegal at some point because of the pollution, but I remember the whole process fondly. Burning leaves smelled wonderful in the crisp autumn air. Us kids danced around in the driveway just from the excitement.

Here is a great little poem From A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson.

If you have kids, read this to them and explain how people used to set fires in the fall.

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something great in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHOSHANADP 11/3/2010 9:58PM

    We didn't burn the leaves, but I do like fall fires. I miss bonfires! There is something so enthralling about a controlled fire.

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JCORYCMA 11/3/2010 9:48PM

    I'm sorry to be tardy in getting to this blog! Naturally, I have the same memory as you and did indeed grow up loving the smell of burning leaves in the fall. I can remember that before Dad burned them we would rake them into piles and jump in them too. I love Robert Louis Stevenson and have his Childs Garden of Verses here to read to my grand children.

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CANDOK1260 11/3/2010 9:35PM

    I remember autumn fire when I was a kid I live in the suburb and maybe once a years someone have a illegal campfire but it usually in summer. You brought back some great memories.

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ASPENHUGGER 11/2/2010 11:16AM

    The smell of burning leaves used to be everywhere in fall, didn't it? Now of course it's generally against city regulations, and people just mow them -- they don't even rake them up any more. For a long time I did -- made big leaf piles and the grandkids came over and helped rake and then jumped in them.

The smell of woodsmoke in the air always sings autumn to me.

Life sure has changed since I was a kid ....

P.S. Thanks for the goodie!

Comment edited on: 11/2/2010 11:16:47 AM

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FLBEACHBUM14 11/1/2010 6:59PM

    We used to burn leaves on the farm I grew up on, and we also burned our flammable trash in used 55-gal oil drums instead of hauling it off. But no more. In my home county in Oregon, you cannot even install a wood stove or fireplace in your home without a permit due to the smoke pollution, especially in the winter. It must be a high efficiency unit and generally, only people who already have an older inefficient unit and want to upgrade to a cleaner more efficient unit can get the permits.

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PENNYAN45 11/1/2010 12:47PM

    I remember those fires - and the burning leaves. Thanks for the memory and the poem.

emoticon emoticon

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COLEENCOLE 11/1/2010 8:16AM

    No burning allowed here. Out town turns the leaves into mulch that is later free to any who will haul it away.

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ALIBROM 11/1/2010 12:21AM

    I still remember the smell of those autumn leaf fires. My dad used to burn the leaves way in the back of our yard. I also remember the story of my cousin who was walking home from school one fall day. He ran joyfully into an untended smoldering pile of leaves and was burned on his legs! Ouch!

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TYEASLEY 10/31/2010 5:30PM

    I remember. Those were the good ole days. Thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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JOYATLAST 10/31/2010 5:13PM

    OMG! I have that book! (somewhere) It's hardback and yellow with beautiful pictures. It was a cherished gift. Thanks for reminding me.

Have a healthy Halloween.


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Soft October Nights

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I haven't been blogging much recently. I've been busy with work and other things, staying the course and generally enjoying life. But I wanted to share the following bit of poetry before October is over. It's from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot. This has been a favorite poem of mine since I was in my teens. I could write pages about this poem, and some day I might, but today I'm just going to share one little image from it. The poem is available on the internet if you want to read it for yourself.

"The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep. "

From "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot

I hope you all are enjoying those "soft October nights".

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYATLAST 10/30/2010 11:21PM

    Soft October night. I like that.

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CITYZOZO 10/30/2010 7:00AM

    love it

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ALIBROM 10/29/2010 9:12PM

    So nice. I do like October. I'm glad I read this before November comes, just around the corner now!

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KALISWALKER 10/28/2010 11:47AM

    Thanks for sharing that. I love October nights, for some reason I am sleeping to well. Enjoy the last days of October.

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JCORYCMA 10/27/2010 11:34PM

    Yesterday, October was soft in Iowa. Today there is a harsh wind. Thank you for sharing this snippit from a great poem!

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TYEASLEY 10/26/2010 12:39AM

    emoticon Thanks!!

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CANDOK1260 10/25/2010 10:16PM


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ASPENHUGGER 10/24/2010 1:09AM

    It's a soft Scottish October night here tonight -- soft rain falling, and has been since late afternoon. I love this weather! It really says fall to me, and I'm prepared to curl up in my house all day tomorrow, in fact I can't wait!

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CORPUSANNIE 10/23/2010 3:41PM

    Have always loved this poem; the imagery is so clear. Especially great when these are images you must dig back into your memory to find. Living in the land of no real seasons, our fog is smog and chokes us should we breathe too deeply. emoticon

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WENDALL125 10/23/2010 2:39PM


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BEAUTIFULANIME 10/23/2010 2:20PM

    That's a really neat poem. I really liked it. Thank you for sharing.

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COLEENCOLE 10/23/2010 12:13PM

    Sweet. Thanks. emoticon

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ALEXTHEHUNN 10/23/2010 11:57AM

    How evocative! Exquisite.

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A Peaceful Start to My Evening

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I felt really good in my yoga class tonight. My mind felt still for a change, and I didn't think about work even once.

Then on the way home, I saw the sun set - just ribbons of color between the trees and under the clouds - and decided to share the following Emily Dickinson poem.

I’ll tell you how the sun rose,--
A ribbon at a time
The steeples swam in amethyst,
The news like squirrels ran.

The hills untied their bonnets,
The bobolinks begun.
The I said softly to myself,
“That must have been the sun!”

But how he set, I know not.
There seemed a purple stile
Which little yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while

Till when they reached the other side,
A dominie in gray
Put gently up the evening bars,
And led the flock away.

Emily Dickinson

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEAU2010 10/4/2010 10:22PM

    Thanks for the smile!

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PENNYAN45 9/30/2010 11:41PM

    "Ribbons of color" describes the sunrise so well.

I enjoy Emily Dickinson. Thanks for posting the poem.


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ALEXTHEHUNN 9/30/2010 7:30AM

    What a little gem a tranquility. Exquisite.

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ASPENHUGGER 9/29/2010 9:33PM


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MOM2ACAT 9/29/2010 5:30PM

    Lovely poem!

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COLEENCOLE 9/29/2010 3:12PM

    Nice poem. I love sunsets and have done 2 quilts of them.

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ALIBROM 9/29/2010 12:56AM

    I love Emily Dickinson's poems. Thanks for sharing. It's nice to have something in your life like yoga that will help chase the stresses away.

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FATHINSN 9/28/2010 11:04PM

    I'm not good for poem but I think that's a good one! But I don't know why, it also sounds sad.

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JCORYCMA 9/28/2010 10:14PM

    I love that poem - it's one of my Emily Dickenson favorites! That is wonderful that yoga is so calming for you. I know just how hard it is to put work out of your mind, especially early in the evening.

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KAYE454 9/28/2010 10:12PM

  Good poem

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MRSJARI 9/28/2010 10:07PM

    Pretty! Thank you.

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REVELATIONGIRL 9/28/2010 10:03PM

    TY for the poem! Love Emily Dickenson!


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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The moon was full last night and it made me think of a poem by Billy Collins.
I love this poem because it reminds me to view the universe with the delight of a small child.


The moon is full tonight
an illustration for sheet music,
an image in Matthew Arnold
glimmering on the English Channel,
or a ghost over a smoldering battlefield
in one of the history plays.

It’s as full as it was
in that poem by Coleridge
where he carries his year-old son
into the orchard behind the cottage
and turns the baby’s face to the sky
to see for the first time
the earth’s bright companion,
something amazing to make his crying seem small.

And if you wanted to follow this example,
tonight would be the night
to carry some tiny creature outside
and introduce him to the moon.

And if your house has no child,
you can always gather into your arms
the sleeping infant of yourself,
as I have done tonight,
and carry him outdoors,
all limp in his tattered blanket,
making sure to steady his lolling head
with the palm of your hand.

And while the wind ruffles the pear trees
in the corner of the orchard
and dark roses wave against a stone wall,
you can turn him on your shoulder
and walk in circles on the lawn
drunk with the light.
You can lift him up into the sky,
your eyes nearly as wide as his,
as the moon climbs high into the night.

Billy Collins

Billy Collins is one of my favorite poets. He is a former Poet Laureate of the United States and edits a poetry site for the Library of Congress. You can find it at

The website is designed to introduce high school students to poetry. I’ve found a lot of good poems at Poetry 180.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEAU2010 9/28/2010 10:05PM

    I love driving in the early morning for the soft air and beautiful skies!

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VALERIEMAHA 9/27/2010 9:27AM

    I LOVE Billy Collins! I have a CD of him reading his work. Besides his immense talent, what a fascinating and seemingly kind, and certainly funny, man he is!

Thanks for this. Have I suggested to you that you subscribe to Panhala, where I retrieve many of the poems I share? I find great joy and satisfaction in it --

In case you're interested, you'll see a "subscribe" option at the bottom.

Blessed be!

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JCORYCMA 9/24/2010 11:51PM

    Beautiful poem! I love to look at a big full moon, but sigh! It's true when you work in the medical field, it seems like the crazies come out of the woodwork when the moon is full. Women go into labor too...

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ALIBROM 9/24/2010 11:31PM

    BEAUTIFUL poem. I love it when there is a full moon.

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JUNEAU2010 9/24/2010 8:29PM

    The moon has been beautiful the last few mornings!

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COLEENCOLE 9/24/2010 4:25PM

    I just love reading your poems, thanks.

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FRANCESCANAZ 9/24/2010 6:14AM

    I'm looking at the full moon right now. It is awesome!

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WENDALL125 9/23/2010 11:20PM

    Thanks for sharing this poem.
The moon over the ocean at 5AM Wed was a true thing of beauty. Hoping for another clear moonlit morning tomorrow.

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SOFT_VAL67 9/23/2010 10:49PM

    last night was a harvest moon, i blogged about it, if u want to go read it, i tried putting pics on the blog, but i had to put them on my home page, some pics i took from my front yard, the moon is full again tonight, but last night was special

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JAMER123 9/23/2010 10:30PM

    Thank you for sharing. He does make one think of talking to the moon. FYI, last night's full moon couldn't be seen here as it has rained for almost 24 hrs. On Tues. night the moon was surrounded by Jupiter and Uranus. Saturn was also barely visible. What a beautiful sight it was. All were so bright that one didn't need light in the house. It will be many yrs. in the future before we can see this again.

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Gimme Some Fruit

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I have really grown to like fruit this past spring and summer. I used to eat the occasional banana. Sometimes I drank orange juice or spooned in some applesauce. Now I eat 3 or 4 servings of fruit a day. I love peaches and blueberries on top of cereal or waffles for breakfast. I love cantaloupe melon for dinner as an appetizer. I snack on strawberries with yogurt. This fall I’ll be looking for fresh apples, pears and citrus.

Fruit gives you vitamins, minerals, fiber and sweetness. Buy yourself some fresh fruit at a farmers’ market and enjoy!

Here’s a fun poem by contemporary American poet Kevin Young.


Gimme some fruit
Gimme some fruit
Fresh salted melon
maybe some mango too

You had me eating pork ribs
You had me eatin ham
You had me so I was feedin
straight out your hand

Gimme some fruit baby
Gimme some fru-uit
Something red
& juicy I can sink
these teeths into

You had me eatin peas Lord
You had me eatin spam
(You had me so turned round)
I never dreamt all you said
came straight out a can

Gimme some fruit
Gimme some fru-uit
Gimme something strong girl
to clear my system of you

You served me up
like chicken
You deviled me like ham
Alls the while I never knew
you had another man

Gimme some fruit girl
Gimme some tomato too
What else is a poor
carnivore like me
without you supposed to do

Kevin Young

Here is a link to Kevin Young’s website. I have a book of his poetry and I love it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIBROM 9/20/2010 11:55PM

    I've begun to eat more fruit, too! I used to just eat apples because I was nervous about my allergic reaction to many fruits. I have (had?) something called OAS (Oral Allergy Syndrome) to peaches, nectarines, oranges, cantaloupe, and sometimes watermelons and grapes. Once when I was a teenager I ate an orange and sneezed for 10 minutes! My throat would itch like crazy if I ate melons or peaches. But recently I ate a delicious nectarine and had no reaction! I've been eating strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and watermelons this summer with no problems. Loved the poem, too. You are an amazing source of good poetry!

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GRAMMAELLEN 9/19/2010 1:17PM

    Loved this blog! Thanks for the web site. Fun poem. Ellen

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JCORYCMA 9/13/2010 11:18PM

    I didn't use to eat a lot of fruit either but now I love it. Pluots (some call them plumcots - a plum/apricot cross) and sweet liittle clementines are my current favorites. We got some great fruit from my special sister and her husband last Christmas! emoticon

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PENNYAN45 9/12/2010 8:54PM

    Yes, there are so many fruits that I really enjoy. And we are lucky to have most of them available year round.

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CITYZOZO 9/10/2010 7:41AM

    so glad, i'm liking it better too since the are way cool! zo

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MOM2ACAT 9/9/2010 9:05PM

    Great poem!

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COLEENCOLE 9/9/2010 5:10PM

    Cute poem. I am a huge fan of fresh apples and love picking them each fall. Did you ever try grilled peach halves?

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JUNEAU2010 9/9/2010 3:02PM

    One of my ideas of luxury is to have fresh strawberries on Christmas morning....some day!

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ELEPHANTEAR143 9/9/2010 10:02AM

  Fruit is a perfect substitute when I walk to the kitchen and see my family having sweets. emoticon

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SWIMBIKE21 9/9/2010 9:59AM

    I LOVE Fruit!! It's great to satisfy the sweet tooth also!

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