cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

Poet Appreciation #7: William Cullen Bryant


Are you a New Yorker? If so, then you know that William Bryant helped establish Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and that Bryant Park is named for him. He was also long time editor of the New York Evening Post. Of course you knew . More importantly, Bryant was part of the Romantics. While the Brits reveled in Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley, America had its own Romanticist in the form of William Cullen Bryant.

William Cullen Bryant Cabinet Card by Mora-crop.jpg William Cullen Bryant: November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878 (Wikipedia image)

November
by William Cullen Bryant

Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air,
Ere, o’er the frozen earth, the loud winds ran,
Or snows are sifted o’er the meadows bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,
And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
And the blue Gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skim the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.    

I do like fall. Each month has its own cadence. September has its drowsy warm days drifting into chilly nights, and then there is October with its brisk mornings rewarded with a gift of sun before rescinding into frost-quickened nights. Bryant has captured November with its bright, lingering colors mixed into the descending browns, graced with slights of snowfall. November is truly a mixture of seasons with its bits of summer mingling with the foreshadowing of winter. I added “gentian” to my imagery entries. Lovely word. Wonderful poem of images.

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