Poem in my October


Poem in my October

The apple trees, they radiate green light,
though the day itself is grey and all else brown,
and green they still will shine as day turns night

if you stand below their boughs, your own eyes bright,
if slips of smiles, like leaves, spin darkness round,
the apple trees, they’ll radiate green light.

But if, like me, you hold your head skin-tight,
a fruit that is all pit, its flesh all stone,
then green will find you still, as day turns night,

unripened, offering only bark to bite,
rind-footed through the autumn fields that ground
the apple trees they radiate.  “Green light,”

says every fear we face–if we look right
at it–for when these leaves will fall, they’ll make no sound,
even though their green now shines as day turns night

and they swim wind’s sea like fish with all their might
heedless of how they’re hooked from stem to mouth–
the apple trees, they radiate green light,
a green that steels all shine as day turns night.


Here’s a draft villanelle for Margaret Bednar’s Play It Again Sam prompt on With Real Toads, which recycles older prompts.  The specific prompt that inspired this poem was Kerry O’Connor’s wonderful essay on Dylan Thomas (and particularly on his poem “Poem in October.” )  Thomas would be 100 years old today. 

I’m not so sure about the last line, the entire last stanza–or the others either, come to think of it–but am facing a  jammed day so wanted to get this up before I lost track of Thomas’s birthday and all other poetic enterprises.   I also would frankly prefer the title “Poem in October,” but feel strange taking Thomas’s title!  (Though it is a bit generic) 


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26 Comments on “Poem in my October”

  1. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    How incredibly fitting to read your poem, written in the vilanelle form, on the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth!

    Your theme of green, with its connotations of life, growth, promise of a far off summer, is so well explored here – each stanza building on the last. Poetry such as this is nourishing to my soul. Everything from “Green Light,” to the end is a brilliant summation, in my opinion.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Kerry–I just after reading your comment realized how I could tighten up the first part– changing peach to fruit and plum to flesh – as there was an awfully lot of different fruit varieties going on! Thanks for your inspiring prompt k.

  2. You know what I really, really liked? That title, especially the “my”. I’m going to start thinking of November that way, “my” November! 🙂

    Greetings from London.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Well, there’s a Dylan Thomas poem – Poem in October, so I did not want to make it like that exactly. I am glad that you liked that. Of course, this is my particular October! Thanks. k.

      On Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  3. hedgewitch Says:

    As Kerry says, you do suffuse this poem with green, and green becomes a tale of its own, of growth and radiance, or of a failure of ripening, or even that slick green sheen of wrongness in rotted things–a scarab-shell iridescence over death-eating habits–something universal, ever-changing and full of life (and death) like the fruits we all are. Forgive me if I bring a hedgewitchian morbidness to the reading. ;_) The form is intensely musical here, the echo lines’ subtle changes tremendously leading and effective, and despite the sense that there may be a worm in the green apple somewhere, on the whole, ‘your’ October seems one of harvest. Thomas is a personal favorite, too–a continual example and inspiration of living the poet’s life. Glad you posted this.

  4. This poem just breathes with earthiness…gorgeous and this is my favorite portion, “rind-footed through the autumn fields that ground”
    rind-footed…that’s so unique! 🙂

  5. Steve King Says:

    “Poem in October” is also one of my favorites…Your rendition of October is so easy to read. The form here enhances your message. “Green light,”/says every fear we face–if we look right
    at it–…This verse speaks to me of fortitude and strength in the face of a world in which these things are not necessarily rewarded appropriately. I find that uplifting in the midst of the season of waning life. I really enjoyed this one.
    Steve K.

  6. Mama Zen Says:

    This rolls so smooth off the tongue! Just beautiful. And, I adore the first line break of the fifth stanza. It really grabs you.

  7. Susan Says:

    Yes, a villanelle for Dylon! I will now look for this green glow when i vistit my parents on Apple Blossom Lane. I like all the senses of green you weave in: unreadiness and readiness, jealousy, immaturity, mold and even memory of what they were. Good, good.

  8. the very last stanza sort of sums up the whole poem…the radiance of the apple tree, the way it flows across the atmosphere, the beauty that it is…rather you look at it or away from it.

    really enjoyed this poem. 🙂

    stacy lynn mar

  9. What a true tribute to write a Villanelle for October… the image of the apple-tree is so strong… it fits so well .. I think you need not to be hesitant at all.. Villanelles are really never really finished I have found.. but you reach a point when you have to let go..

  10. mhwarren Says:

    You inspired me with this poem which celebrates October in the person of the green of the apple tree and growth even as it acknowledges the coming of the dark of night.

  11. brian miller Says:

    actually it is the skin tight head…unripened day stanza that really stands out to me in this one k….you make it personal in that one relating it to yourself…which allows me to, as well…

  12. Brendan Says:

    It’s the inner glow of the tree that still radiates the landscape, a vitality that burns on past its season, ours … Honoring Dylan Thomas this way is what this poem does, holding a verbal richness beyond measure forth into an increasingly dim and silent time. Very well done. “Rind-footed through the autumn fields that ground / the apple trees they radiate” was my favorite. Your regimen sounds much like mine — poetry before first light because the day scatters everything so fast in its overpressured work. Congrats on such a fine contribution and elegy for Thomas.

  13. margaret Says:

    Adore the “my” in the title and “as day turns night” is lovely as nothing changes really – the colors are there even if we can’t see them. I almost didn’t recognize it as a villanelle as it reads so smoothly. I think Dylan Thomas has offered quite the inspiration this past weekend.

  14. This stanza moves me, fills me with confidence, hope, understanding:
    says every fear we face–if we look right
    at it–for when these leaves will fall, they’ll make no sound,
    even though their green now shines as day turns night

  15. Justin Lamb Says:

    Very nice writing. I like scene you set up and the use of apple trees. I also laughed at “But if, like me, you hold your head skin-tight,
    a fruit that is all pit” I feel like my head is a solid pit most of the time. 🙂

  16. What a beautiful villanelle! I love the lilt of it and, especially, love the image of the leaves as they “they swim wind’s sea like fish with all their might”. I love your closing line!

  17. Jamie Dedes Says:

    Perfect poem. Perfect for Dylan’s b’day. Smooth and green and celebratory.

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