Autumn Ripe

I am no gaunt,
leafless winter hawthorn:
my trunk is not gnarled
nor are my branches
a twisted mass,
no dark hoard of barbs.
I am not creamy froth
on outgrown hedges,
no early dog rose
drenched in dew or sun.
I dance and rustle
with fallen leaves
and glow with autumn
fruit, nut and berry,
shivering with the thrill
of mist and chill.

Kim M. Russell, 7th June 2018


My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Via Negativa, also linked to Poets United Poetry Pantry

Björn is our host this Thursday and he would like us to use negation in poetry. He says that this is one of the strongest tools in poetry, for which he recently came across a term when he attended a workshop on poetry: Via Negativa. It originated from Apophatic Theology, which says that the divine can only be approached in terms of saying what a perfect God is not.

In Via Negativa anything abstract or emotional can be defined with everything that it’s not.

Björn has given examples from Pablo Neruda, Simon Armitage and e.e. cummings, as well as some of his own poetry. He says that negation is most powerful when you develop metaphors; it’s a great way to avoid cliché; and looking at everything that it’s not can be a good way to write positively.


75 thoughts on “Autumn Ripe

  1. There’s such a classic feel to this – season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, grow old along with me – all that stuff – and I love the contrasts. Dance through your autumn, why not? It has its own beauties.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. kaykuala

    I dance and rustle
    with fallen leaves
    and glow with autumn
    fruit, nut and berry,

    It is great if one can rejoice in certain pathetic situations, Kim! It helps to liven things up quite easily from a ‘gone case’ situation!


    Liked by 2 people

  3. I know we are not supposed to eat poems. But I want to eat this one–I can taste the “nut and berry” dancing in the fall, reminding both summer and winter that although they were here or are about to come, at the moment fall is queen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really is my favourite time of year – although I’m not sure yet if it’s my favourite time of life. I’m OK about the silver in my hair but unhappy about the shortness of breath and inability to run! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kim, I’m sorry I started smiling from the beginning and burst out with a joyful laughter. It sounded like me and then found myself at the end alive. (I didn’t need to hear all that 🙂 )
    An exceptional write.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s good not to age before our/its time, good to feel grace and graceful, but I would wish this whippersnapper more kind-ness with those who are gnarled and of another species. All the same, I found its sassiness refreshing. (Smile.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I noted your reply to Magaly’s comment. I don’t mind any time in the year now I am old, everything is beautiful springtime and fall. I find people are beautiful too as I smile and talk to everybody and when I use public transport I make up stories about other passengers or talk to the waitresses in cafes and words just flow from my fingers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the invitation, Gillena. I’m marking exam papers as of today, so I’m not doing any extra posting at the moment. Once the marking is over, I’d love to join in as much as possible. Much love, Kim 😊


  7. This is a delight and an inspiration to me as I acknowledge I am creeping up on the autumn of my life. There’s no reason not to dance.


  8. You took what Bjorn said and really put out a grat piece that sounds fresh and original. It has a darkness to it that is alone the result of the negative thing and it reads like a manifesto instead of your average poem. Very, very cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree with Corey – the use of the negative to define what something is not, adds a certain rhythm and pace, and allows for the strong elements, when they are revealed to really shine, in outstanding comparison. And I also love the layers to this piece; it can be read as a literal interpretation of notations of seasons, and elements within, and yet, it also speaks about how we can choose to experience our lives, and how we view ourselves as we age. And I would suggest, Kim, that you carry yourself with infinite grace in spirit, body and soul. And definitely, some lovely sass, too. 🙂

    This is wonderful poem. I really like it’s strength. And it’s movement. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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