Far from being the cruelest month, October is my favorite. First and foremost, it’s my birthday month (Go Libras!). But also, growing up in New England, it was undoubtedly the most beautiful time of year. And then there’s Halloween, which I absolutely love.
Many poets have written about this special month, including Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, and Dylan Thomas, but here is a recent discovery by Paul Laurence Dunbar that I think captures the true essence of October.
October is the treasurer of the year,
And all the months pay bounty to her store;
The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
And fill her brimming coffers more and more.
But she, with youthful lavishness,
Spends all her wealth in gaudy dress,
And decks herself in garments bold
Of scarlet, purple, red, and gold.
She heedeth not how swift the hours fly,
But smiles and sings her happy life along;
She only sees above a shining sky;
She only hears the breezes’ voice in song.
Her garments trail the woodlands through,
And gather pearls of early dew
That sparkle, till the roguish Sun
Creeps up and steals them every one.
But what cares she that jewels should be lost,
When all of Nature’s bounteous wealth is hers?
Though princely fortunes may have been their cost,
Not one regret her calm demeanor stirs.
Whole-hearted, happy, careless, free,
She lives her life out joyously,
Nor cares when Frost stalks o’er her way
And turns her auburn locks to gray.
—Paul Laurence Dunbar, Oak and Ivy (1893)