A sound, uncertain as the silence

We have an apple tree in our back garden, a russet, which always fruits well, but the last couple of years the apples have lacked flavour; nice and crisp, sharp but just tasteless… Maybe this year they will be better, our other fruit – raspberries, tomatoes, and gooseberries have been very sweet and flavourful!

Here is a sonnet by my current favourite poet, Thomas Caulfield Irwin; I know he’s talking about autumn, but as the sea is just down the road from us, and I can look out of the window and see the hill beside our village, it seems quite a good poem for here!

A sound, uncertain as the silence

The apples ripen under yellowing leaves,
And in the farm yards by the little bay
The shadows come and go amid the sheaves,
And on the long dry inland winding way:
Where, in the thinning boughs each air bereaves,
Faint sunlights golden, and the spider weaves.
Grey are the low-laid sleepy hills, and grey
The autumn solitude of the sea day,
Where from the deep ‘mid-channel, less and less
You hear along the pale east afternoon
A sound, uncertain as the silence, swoon–
The tide’s sad voice ebbing toward loneliness:
And past the sands and seas’ blue level line,
Ceaseless, the faint far murmur of the brine.

Thomas Caulfield Irwin


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