marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

season and symbolism

Was in a discussion recently in which the quote from Ray Bradbury's The October People came up:

That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain

Which conveys a certain sensation, even if your own spontaneous thoughts of fall run more to

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

or even

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

There are a lot of things you can do with a season. A radiant, flowering summer or a stifling muggy one -- a gray, dreary, and bitterly cold winter or a crisp, snowy one -- though I personally can't think of a way to make spring an evil season. (Unpleasant, yes, "breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/Memory and desire, stirring/Dull roots with spring rain." But not evil.)

Of course that's not the only thing one can lightly throw the symbolism around with. Is green life, or the color of poisons and snakes? Rose-red or blood red? As yellow as sunshine or jaundice?

The advantage of doing it in words, poetry or prose, is that by judiciously loading the adjectives and nouns and verbs used, it's a lot easier to point the audience the right direction that with other media.
Tags: choosing words, style, writing audience

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