“Old Autumn In The Misty Morn”

Today’s guest post was written by Ethelene Dyer Jones.

Old Autumn in the Misty Morn

A certain aura of solemnity and sadness settles over me as I consider the approach of fall. Although normally an optimistic person, one who seeks to see the brighter side of even hard times, I nevertheless allow my thoughts to turn somber when fall approaches. In that vein, I share here a poem I wrote about fall and the pensive mood it brings to me. I guess we all have that penchant to think sober thoughts at times, and fall has a way of bringing these on.  I use as an epigraph to the poem a quotation from the poet Thomas Hood.

‘Old Autumn in the Misty Morn’

“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like silence,
Listening in silence.” (Thomas Hood, 1799-1845)

‘I saw old Autumn in the misty morn’
Gray cloak drawn close against the chill,
Recalcitrant as a stubborn child,
Painting the trees on dale and hill.

I saw her stand ‘shadowless like silence,’
Mellowing shorter day and longer night
Until the wordless landscape lay
A canvas for shadows of birds in flight.

And ‘listening in silence’
I sensed quiet echoes of aeons gone,
Passing sentinels of times ago
Marching unheard–and autumns spent alone.

-Ethelene Dyer Jones (written November 1, 1997)

Even with the sad-toned poem, I still love fall, its blaze of color climbing our mountains, the sense of nature closing down for a much-needed rest, shorter days and longer nights, with the season heralded by “October’s bright blue weather” and moving on to November’s season of gratitude and praise.


I hope you enjoyed Ethelene’s poem as much as I did. The words make me think of long walks alone with only the stillness of the woods for company.



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  • Reply
    james gentry
    October 20, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Beautifully written. LOVE it.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    October 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Tipper, I’m posting this thank-you a day late because of circumstances of being away and not having time or wireless access to reply on Saturday, October 18, the day you posted my poem, “Old Autumn in the Misty Morn.” Today (Sunday, the day after) I’ve read my poem and comments about it, and all the comments of friends on “The Blind Pig.” I thank you, Tipper, and I thank all of you who so faithfully read one of the most beloved (by me and many!) blogs to be accessed. You give us opportunities to share what’s on our mind and how what you post touches our lives! We are grateful!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Tipper, b. Ruth & Ethelene – My little “essay” yesterday wasn’t meant to reflect in any way on Ethelene’s poem. It’s solemnity might only have heightened a feeling harbored already in my mind. My first cousin J T Ammons died Thursday and I was unable to get back home for the services. His obituary in the Asheville Citizen was barebones. A colorful life summed up in a few words in black and white. A few of those colorful moments are mentioned in comments I have made on this site. I was there to witness only a tidbit of the color in his life. His life was filled with colorings entirely unnoticed by most and now those are gone too.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 19, 2014 at 9:10 am

    and Ed, yes I want to comment once again…
    I kept waiting for the ending of Ed’s essay to end different. We do live in the real world I suppose.
    I just wanted the children that didn’t have the means, only rough paper and nubby crayons to grow into the great artist. Because, it really takes a creative mind to blend the few nubby colors and create great art using rough tactile paper incorporating it into the picture!
    If you have it all to work with, then any mind or hand could make art with very few creative ideas! Then of course it would lack heart! The most important part!
    That’s all I have to say about that, except this:
    This means I live in a perverse fantasy world with unrealistic expectations.
    THANK YOU, for understanding!” Also this,
    “Sometimes I think I’m crazy because I see things differently than everyone else!”
    and this,
    “Every child is an ARTIST” ~Picasso~
    Thanks Ed and Tipper….

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 19, 2014 at 8:40 am

    and Ed….”Oh shuckin’s”, I thought that square red leaf (thing), looking as though it was falling down about 5 feet off the ground, was a “HYBRID BOX ELDER”!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…I knowed I’d never see’d one in that neck of the woods, surprise, surprise!!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Personally, I like Fall, when one can take a nice long walk in the coolness, deep in thought, without the sweats or gnats to interrupt and pester.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 18, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Some of the children got new coloring books and a brand new box of Crayolas with twenty four colors and a sharpener. The rest used torn out paper and the nubs the teacher had in a box in the closet. The children with new coloring books and crayons always got A+. The children with rough paper and crayons so short they could hardly hold them got C’s and D’s if they were lucky. The parents of the children with the nubs worked for the parents of the children with the new coloring books and twenty four count boxes of crayons with sharpeners. The children with the A+’s took their colorings home and showed them to their parents. Their parents praised them and said “Look at what a gifted child I have produced!” The children whose work was graded with only C’s and D’s at best were ashamed and didn’t take their artwork home at all. When all the children grew up those who had been provided with the best of books and crayons became great artists with works displayed in galleries and museums to be admired by others of the same means. Those whose work was graded inept and insufficient and therefore hidden were employed to dust the works of those whose art was considered great by their peers. The teachers who gave accolades to the children with sharp crayons and books with sharp lines and pictures straight on the paper were given pensions and accolades by the parents who had provide their children with twenty four count boxes of Crayolas and coloring books. The parents who were able to provide the best of art supplies for their children gave their servants an extra weeks pay at Christmas and shook their heads thinking “Look at me and all I do for my children and all I do for them and their children!” “I am an A plus plus.”

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Beautiful poems

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    October 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL POST ON A BEAUTIFUL October Day. Jim and I spent most of our day at a festival(BOOK FAIR) in the SMALL community of Oliver Springs, TN. I only sold a half dozen copies of “Fiddler of the Mountains” but several of my former students came by and chatted about school. One wonderful student said, “When I took math from you I finally understood!” She made my OCTOBER DAY more perfect.
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    What a nice poem by Ethelene! I
    have wondere many time what it was
    like to be in her classes.
    October thru March is my favorite
    times of the year, but I do enjoy
    planting time in the mountains too.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Lovely bittersweet poem. I like the line about echoes of other Falls. I’m reminded every Fall of how awful putting those hard new shoes on feet that had gone barefoot all Summer, could hurt. And waiting on the school bus full of anticipation for the new school year. There’s a country song entitled, You’re Gonna Miss This, that’s a good reminder of how much those school days really did mean to us and that sense of new beginnings every Fall.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I have to agree with Ethelene on the sadness that fall brings to some of us. My daughter said it’s hard to decide if me or her husband suffers more this time of year. I am S.A.D.D. until about March.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    October 18, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Lovely words, Miz Ethelene. Fall has always seemed to be a time of mixed reflective melancholy and unbounded joy.
    – Walks in a holler filled with old growth poplars and illuminated in a doubly golden hue – sun filtering through leaves left above and reflecting on the new yellow carpet.
    – Shaking young trees to get a bunch of leaves loosed at once and watching our kids scramble to see how many they could catch.
    – Sitting as still as you can with your back against the base of a red oak with a 20 gauge across your lap in the light of either pre-dawn or the gloaming, listening for the many sounds of a squirrel:
    – cracking nuts,
    – the nut leavings rattling on new-fallen leaves below,
    – a limb swishing when the squirrel jumps,
    – a rustling in the leaves below in search of fallen mast or on the way to water
    – and of course the barking to say “I see you”
    – Raking up a 5-ft high pile of leaves and launching into them from 10 feet above on a rope swing at its apex.
    – Throwing sticks up in the branches of a hickory to shake loose some nuts, then cracking them on a rock with a hammer to get the tidbit of sweet meat.
    – A walnut picking-up Sunday afternoon.
    – Flying down the wooded hillside of our neighbors, the Blacks, on a flattened sheet of cardboard.
    – And of course, in later years, providing a source of laughs for and teasing from Miz b. Ruth for an unintended slide – sans cardboard – down a maple-leaf covered bank and into the refreshing waters of Durham Branch.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 18, 2014 at 9:02 am

    How inappropriate the placement of that sign!
    Autumn is when nature puts on display all this year’s creations.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 18, 2014 at 8:36 am

    and Ethelene,
    I suppose we all face at one time or another a lonesomeness that can’t be filled with by earthly beings, except for that someone that has been very special in our lives.
    Fall is full of beauty and a need to share the change in the weather, especially with someone special.
    Like Spring there is just that special feeling in the air before the harsh winter or a hot summer.
    I somewhat understand your feelings in your poem. But, then we have not walked in your shoes and only stand beside and listen.
    Beautiful poem…
    Thanks Tipper and Ethelene…
    PS…We’re off to the colorful mountains for a fling with the grandchildren…doubt I’ll get to see many leaves, are at least they will be there in a whirrrrrr!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2014 at 6:24 am

    I also love this time of year, I’ve seen many a picture and paintings of the Trees and the Mountains with fall colors, but no camera can take a picture or a brush stroke the colors that only the paint brush of God can place on the canvas of his creation…

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