One hundred and eighty nine years ago, Keats published his ode 'To Autumn'. It is a poem of contentment and satisfaction, suffused with the rich glow of ripe apples and honey-dripping hives. Keats did not start writing poetry until he was eighteen; by the age of twenty-five he was dead.
Forty eight years ago, on this very day in 1961, Larkin wrote a much terser and bleaker poem on the same topic, 'And now the leaves suddenly lose strength'. This poem sees autumn as a symbol of mortality, the herald of winter (and therefore of death) which gives us all pause for thought: "All silent, watching the winter coming on."
Larkin's austere beauty commands respect if not affection, but on the whole I'm with Keats and happiness. And you, Cornflower readers: when you think of autumn, do you reflect on well-stocked granaries, or do you shiver and put another log on the fire?