October is the tenth month of the year, and a month I look forward to whenever I check my personal calendar. In terms of official dates, I look at a long weekend for National Indigenous People’s Day (formerly Columbus Day, or, for Geneseo, Fall Break), my birthday in the middle of the month, and Halloween on the last day of the month, which is my favorite holiday. In terms of experiences, I look forward to October because it is the month in my experience when the leaves start changing color, when I’m settled into the school year, when I feel the crisp fall breeze and a chai latte in my hands. It’s cold enough to wear sweaters and the occasional jacket, but warm enough that I don’t die of frostbite. It’s the month of pumpkins and apples and cinnamon and “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” What more could I ask for?
October is the tenth month of the year, but it was formerly the eighth month. The only reason it is now the tenth is because two Roman emperors each wanted four weeks in a year dedicated to themselves. The numbered months don’t correspond to their actual sequence in the months, and I wanted to write in this blog post about different elements of the month of October. The first being that October was the eighth month, and one of my favorite poems that we have discussed in class has eight lines. This poem is “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams.
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
Despite the brevity of the poem (a skill which I honestly should work on) there is still a lot said both in the narrative and the unspoken context. The motif of color is used in an interesting context, where the colors don’t necessarily exist in isolation, but cannot exist without modifiers: “a red wheel / barrow // glazed with rain / water” (Williams, 3-6) The red doesn’t exist without the wheelbarrow and the glaze of rain water that gives it a unique sheen. To me, it almost looks like blood. Another interesting factor is the existence of “…the white / chickens” (Williams, 7-8) A glaze is something shiny, but it can also have a translucent or white quality to it, like the glaze of a Krispy Kreme donut (another good treat.) The contrast of the foreboding red with the innocent chickens adds an interesting dynamic to only eight lines of poetry. The factor that “so much depends / upon” (Williams, 1-2) the existence of the red wheelbarrow and the white chickens side by side adds a bit of mystery to what seems like a cut and dry narrative.
Was it a stretch to connect this poem to autumn? Possibly. Autumn is such a mystical, mysterious season, and the themes that come with it; such as death, harvest, transformation, the occult, relationships, harmony, and balance, are some really fruitful themes for poetry. Stay tuned!