Poetry Breathes in Each Season

Emily Dickinson writes “September’s Baccalaureate / A combination is / Of Crickets – Crows – and Retrospects / That makes the Heart put up its Fun / And turn Philosopher.” There’s something familiar about the seasonal mood Dickinson depicts of her time. Perhaps, it’s the strong seasonal urge to create, I always experience in autumn.

With the winding down of the year, I welcome the invitation to turn inwards. But this time not to split myself open and write about what hurts, as I usually do during autumn. Because I’ve been “opening my veins and bleeding on the page” a lot in these past recent years. The process has sucked me dry. Fortunately, I’m wrapping up that project now.

Crow on a branch

As I embrace the slower pace of the season, I’m deliberate. I flip through drafts and tip-toe (in my head) past some folders. Even though the stories burn, I stop to ponder the emotional investment I’d have to make. Because what I want to do this autumn is to create art and have fun doing so, whatever that means. Hence, there’s a subtle joy that comes with re-entering this space with this intention. And not knowing what shape or form the next abandoned creative project I pick up will take is slightly exciting.

Squirrel hoping for some nuts

There’s a quote I like (I’ve forgotten who said this) “If someone gives you a platform, take it.” However, in recent years, I haven’t been following this advice much. Because doing so feels like operating from a place of scarcity, as if there won’t be other opportunities in the future.

That’s me at an event taking a break (from talking & smiling) and doing facial exercises 🙂

This means I’m saying yes to a few invitations at this point, even though I should be entering a season of visibility to promote my upcoming poetry collection. This is not a turning down of opportunities. I’m simply not ready for the performative act “required” in some spaces to talk about one’s writing or process. This is also in keeping with my word for the year, depth.

Setting the mood to create

So, here’s to autumn! May you snuggle quietly in your joyous creative space and let poetry breathe into whatever art form you create!

Enjoy the season! <3

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and blogger. Her blog focuses on poetry and creative nonfiction, and also features poets and their books.

22 Comments

  1. ‘Facial Exercises’ HA! Too funny – you do have a wry sense of humor (I’m cracking up over here!)
    Seriously, it sounds like you’re climbing onto the ‘other side’ of continuing on with life…with depth. You are a true example of what is meant in the the phrase, “Still waters run deep.” It’s a part of you that comes naturally.
    I share in your delight for the anticipation of newness Fall brings to the soul.

  2. I love this, Khaya! I understand about not feeling like making the emotional investment required to finish some painful works. I love how you are giving yourself permission to do what feels right for you now. Create joy, my friend. Lovely photos 💜

  3. Your intentions and wishes for autumn ring true. May the ‘mellow fruitfulness’ and ‘magic’ of this season bring more of your beautiful poems. I recently reread Keats’ poem To Autumn, hence the quotes.

  4. I’ve gotten the sense all year, Khaya, that you are in a process of attunement, listening to yourself and honoring where you are, instead of where you think you ought to be. That comes through so clearly in this post and there’s a lovely serenity and acceptance in that. I’m delighted to hear that there’s a book in the works. I wish you a wonderfully creative, joyous autumn. <3 <3

  5. LOL! 😀 Seriously though I love hanging out with people and engaging in meaningful conversations. But after all the talking and smiling, I get physically tired. If it’s an all day event, I usually steal some time to be alone and breathe. Thank so much Laura for your kind comment, I appreciate you. <3

  6. Thank you, my friend.<3 The part about creating joy resonates. Because that's what I said to myself "to share beauty and joy" when I started the Project Finding Beauty. I've been writing about heavy stuff in my poetry, but I want love to go back to that "happy" place again.

  7. Oh yes, To Autumn! It’s one of my favourites by Keats. Thank you, Mariss. I wish all the joy brings in your part (and mine) of the world. 🙂

  8. You are so correct Diana, I am attuning indeed. There’s no point rushing life, it follows its own rhythm. Thank you so much, friend. I wish you the same. <3

  9. Here’s to Autumn Khaya! 🍁🍂🍁 As we change seasons, march to the beat of your own drum my friend. 🥁 I love your outlook! Wishing you a fabulous day ahead! 🤗💖😊

  10. We’re still in the grip of the monsoon season – which depresses as much as it inspires. With climate change, seasons are all messed up and everything is so much more intense. More rain, more heat, more chaos. What it will do to poetry, is still unclear!

  11. Here’s to marching to the beat of our own drum! Thank you so much, Kym. I appreciate your encouraging comment. May your day be filled with wonder and joy! <3

  12. I’m under the impression that the monsoon season is usually long. But I can’t begin to imagine climate change exacerbate it. The devastatingly heavy rains we see on the media (news reports on TV) can be downright scary. 🙁 Climate change is real! As someone who is largely inspired by and write about nature, I also worry about what all this change will do to poetry. But keep on writing Rajani. Because that’s what writers are called to do; to tell the truth and show the world as it is. We can only hope decision-makers listen and drive change. Perhaps, we should join poets for nature movement to amplify our voices. 🙂

  13. Yes, a lot of the extra-heavy rains are climate change driven and are causing havoc in countries that contribute very little to the overall emissions. Am just not seeing the urgency in the global narrative to make the kind of corrections that are possibly needed to save lives. Earthweal.com is a great site for climate poetry, Brendan and Sherry are doing massive work there.

  14. I’m excited for you and wherever your autumn plans take you. I am in a bit of an in-between place too, with a couple of projects that could easily pull me one way or another. It’s nice to take the time to contemplate the delicious possibilities!

  15. “Am just not seeing the urgency in the global narrative…” EXACTLY! Because the narrative is controlled by those with big media. And as the saying goes, “Whoever controls the narrative has the power.” It’s all complicated, like a Facebook status. 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for reminding me about Earthweal. Indeed Brendan and Sherry are doing brilliant work there. Earthweal is always at the back of my mind but climate writing is massive and requires lots of research. But that’s no excuse; I need to pull up my socks and contribute to this “global witness of the Earth’s changing climate.”

  16. Thank you, Rommy. It’s lovely indeed to have these delicious possibilities. Take time choosing your next art project, and I wish you all the fun with it!

  17. “what I want to do this autumn is to create art and have fun doing so, whatever that means”. I hope it means creating lots of yumminess (and sharing them with us)!

  18. YES! Autumn!

    We run out of blood sometimes. Then there needs to be a period of recovery, a time when we focus our art elsewhere, while we build back up.

  19. Our favourite season!

    When I look back to the beginning of the year, I’m amazed that I still have a little blood left after that bleeding… So, here’s to Autumn and recovering!

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