Tuesday 9 September 2008

The First Chestnut

In the quiet of an early September morning
on Chestnut Tree Lane,
a harbinger of autumn swinging itself free,
landing in front of
sandal-clad feet
with a thud:

The first chestnut of the season,
in her shiny marron finery,
next to her split open
moss-green spiky armour,
exuding fragrance
of marrons glacés.

First published
September 2007
by Merisi.


  1. Gorgeous photos and lovely, lovely poem, as well. You know, I don't think I've ever seen a chestnut shell.

  2. Very poetic and quite magical. I love the second picture and the lighting on the succulant nuts.

  3. Beautiful! Almost looks like a sea creature.

  4. Willow,
    thank you!
    In my neighborhood, several streets are lined with tall chestnut trees.

    I had deposited them on my window sill, the light made me reach for the camera. ;-)

    thank you, Steph! :-)
    We loved to play with them when we were children, creating all kinds of animals with them.

  5. A beautiful photograph for my daughter's birthday.
    But quite early, surely, for 'conkers' as we called them in England.
    Too autumnal (isn't that a lively word.)

  6. This brings back such memories of childhood. We used to walk the streets and collect them and that sheen you captured on them is so beautiful. Your poem is wonderful!! Such an appropos fall post on this cool day here in Ohio!

  7. Charles Gramlich,
    I can see them coming! ;-)

    happy birthday,
    to your daughter,
    and happy memories for you! :-)
    I have heard about "conkers", and autumnal, yes, I agree, lively, solemn too, isn't it? ;-)

    William Blake's ode to autumn is one of my favorite poems, if he played conkers or not:

    To Autumn

    O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stainèd
    With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
    Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st rest,
    And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
    And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
    Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
    `The narrow bud opens her beauties to
    The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
    Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
    Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
    Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
    And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.

    `The spirits of the air live on the smells
    Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
    The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.'
    Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
    Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
    Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

  8. a brush with color,
    we collected them too! ;-)
    The nuts beautiful sheen lasts but for a few precious hours, once it is released from its protective husk.

  9. Ah, I love chestnuts. They don't grow readily here - so are expensive. *Horse* chestnuts (poisonous - but still beautiful) are much more common.

  10. Love all the three last posts..my favourite however is Escape ..it does make one feel like escaping

  11. TLC Illustrations,
    the chestnuts in the pictures are indeed non-edible horse-chestnuts!
    I didn't know they were poisonous.

    I love autumn walks in Tuscan woods, where sweet chestnut(châtaigne) trees grow, their husks are so very pretty! There, even wild boars are said to feed on them (I have heard Umbrians and Tuscans talking about how much better their wild boar sausages taste, because of that sweet chestnut diet).

    thank you! :-)
    You are so rights, it's a wonderfully sweet escape. Even going there for half an afternoon, with a long bike ride, a dip in the lake, and dinner by it's shore after sunset, makes one feel so far away from all everyday pressures that one returns home full of new energy.

  12. A miracle every year! You're the first to show them this year, as for the first cherry's day, this day will be be chestnut's day, thank you!

  13. Merci, Bridget!
    I happen to walk under chestnut trees every day, so I notice when they start falling. ;-)

    It's always a bittersweet moment, a reminder that late summer days need to be savoured to the very last minutes, each and every moment. :-)

    I have been trying to put up a new post, but didn't succede so far. :-(

  14. I have NEVER seen chestnuts in their natural state. Wow!!

  15. LOve love love these chestnuts!!
    One of my favorite things to collect as a child...

  16. those are the poisonous ones, right? 'coz the edible ones are encased in a "spikier" shell.


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