What I love about autumn is the night arriving early.
What I hate about autumn is the day leaving even earlier.
What I love about autumn is eventually they run out of Grand Prix.
What I hate about autumn is Christmas in the shops in September.
What I love about autumn are pictures of autumn trees.
What I hate about autumn is the rain. I was not always frightened of rain, but I think I am now. I used to curl up under my bed covers as a child and listen to the wind howling, and it was the best feeling in the world. But now I am old I am frightened of the rain.
What I love about autumn is listening to my children talking about football.
What I hate about autumn is the persistent rain.
What I love about autumn is it reminds me of Aldeburgh, because I was happy in Aldeburgh even though I was about to not be happy which I did not know at the time. This does not mean I do not miss Aldeburgh and the people I met there, even though unhappiness is something I struggle with.
What I hate about autumn is the feeling that the year is running out and that there is no time left for the things which I ought to have done but have left undone, like reading Great Expectations, or finally getting round to understand the American political system. Instead I have my notebook with phrases like Salmon, Bird food, and a note about a woman with red hair stepping out of her BMW to smoke a cigarette before going back to her car and lifting her toddler out of her car seat. I wonder if this is getting me anywhere.
What I love about autumn is trying to practice mindfulness in the supermarket check out queue, and nearly succeeding but not really minding.
What I hate about autumn is the news.
What I love about autumn are my students.
What I hate about autumn is I wonder if my main problem is boredom. I don’t think I was always like this. And I don’ think the internet did it to me. I think of what my friend Martin wrote about Fairnie when he said he saw art as a playground and wanted a go on all of the rides. That is how I feel when I wake up most mornings but all I have is my poems so keep looking for new poems to take a ride on because I do not want to become a pastiche of myself even though sometimes I worry I may have
What I love about autumn are jumpers.
What I hate about autumn is watching the garden collapse in front of my eyes.
What I love about autumn is the leaves. I would like to be a leaf, I think to myself. Or a cloud. Or a book of poems by Martin Stannard. Or a Latvian poet you have not heard of. Cliff Yates’s latest book Jam is amazing by the way.
What I also love about autumn are the ‘autumn internationals’. Just when you think there is no hope there is the chance to watch rugby again. Spike Milligan once said that without rugby he would not have clung on as long as he did. There is also the ‘autumn statement’, made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I like the autumn internationals more. The autumn statement is actually made in the winter.
I do really miss Aldeburgh. And Southwold. There I watched my children dance on the beach and make sculptures out of stones. Now they have left and it is autumn.
But I also miss Peter, and Luke. And Sue. How I wish they lived nearby so they could pop in and take wine with me, putting the world to rights and deepening our ties of knowledge and of love.
We used to build enormous piles of leaves in the garden with my father and run through them. He never complained. It was the best feeling in the world.