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Autumn Day -- Anne Ridler

Guest poem sent in by Jeremy Marshall
(Poem #1372) Autumn Day
 The raging colour of this cold Friday
 Eats up our patience like a fire,
 Consumes our willingness to endure,
 Here the crumpled maple, a gold fabric,
 The beech by beams empurpled, the holy sycamore,
 Berries red-hot, the rose's core--
 The sun emboldens to burn in porphyry and amber.

 Pick up the remnants of our resignation
 Where we left them, and bring our loving passion,
 Before the mist from the dark sea at our feet
 Where mushrooms cling like limpets in the grass,
 Quenching our fierceness, leaves us in a worse case.
-- Anne Ridler
This is one of my favourite short poems from an English writer who seems not
yet to have made it into the Minstrels' gallery.  It is from her collection
"The Nine Bright Shiners" (1943).  It exemplifies two things that I most
appreciate in poetry: musical resonance of words and rich visual imagery.  I
am a lover of autumn, which has now reached my part of the world, and this
poem catches for me some of the essence of autumn: stunningly beautiful, but
with a chill of mortality that saps the strength from the heart if you
linger out of doors to admire it too long.  (I love the image of the "dark
sea" of evening mist rolling low across the fields.)

Anne Ridler worked for T.S. Eliot from 1935 to 1940 at the London publishers
Faber and Faber, and he encouraged her in writing poetry.  She later edited
works by Thomas Traherne, Lawrence Durrell, Walter de la Mare, Charles
Williams, and others.  Her collected poetry was published by Carcanet in
1995.  She also wrote criticism and verse plays, and translated several
major opera libretti.  When I had begun to try my hand at poetry, she kindly
took the trouble to make some constructive comments on my early efforts.
She died in October 2001 at the age of 89.

Jeremy Marshall

There is a photo and brief obituary at
[broken link] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/1602716.stm

and a bibliography at
http://www.4-wall.com/authors/authors_r/ridler_anne.htm

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