september word square image

Autumnal pleasures

The seasons I love most are Spring and Autumn, the elbows of the year that mark the passage from Summer and Winter and which are usually the most benign and pleasant of months.

This month’s word has a selection of words which have a flavour of Autumn about them and which represent some of the activities and traditions associated with this time of year. As with all word squares, the aim is to choose one word from each column and weave them into a story, a piece of flash fiction, a poem or even a first paragraph that sets the scene for the reader. If you feel inspired you could do what Lesley Mason did with last month’s word square and try to use all the words, it’s quite a challenge but thanks to a spelling mistake on my part she made it possible.

My effort is below.

Lammas had passed in a drunken haze and I wasn’t sure that Mabon would be that much different. I wasn’t sure if the rough cider really agreed with my apparently delicate stomach these days and besides, it was the time of year that I remembered what might have been but never was.

Two days later I was kicking through the leaves still undecided when my phone pinged. I was startled, my phone never rang and I never got text messages; it was so underused my family always laughed that I even bothered to keep it at all never mind charged.

I opened the app cautiously assuming it would be a hoax or a joke. The message was brief and one I’d longed to receive.

“Are you going to the festival this year? I’d really like to see you again, it’s decades since we left school and it feels like now is the right time to tell you why I left”.

Michael, why was he contacting me now? My fingers hovered briefly before typing my one-word answer.

Now it’s your turn. Why not use the comment area below to share your opening line, verse or even title?

september word square


  1. Rising to the challenge again…or trying to. It turned out to be something of a dystopian piece. Sorry about that!
    ~ / ~

    I walk out into the dawn. The old chestnut mare doesn’t bother to greet me, my moonshine hair confirms I’m no longer kin. I’m old now, my colour has changed and the world with it.

    I lurk where I can watch him go. The Mabon mist settles on his shoulders as he passes the old school, the collie at his heels. The Equinox will always be his calling to fetch the sheep from the hill down to the lea of the lower fields, no matter that Autumn has escaped the ruling of the turn. The fall of leaves began in August, product of such a brittle year, but the dew that cloaks him and spiderwebs alike will be all the moisture we see for a few weeks more.

    We send the sheep high so that they get first call on the springs that rise, if they still do. Tonight I will know how many survived. He doesn’t speak of it, but cannot hide how few he brings home.

    The school year passes un-noticed now, children fledged and flown and the old yard silent, its mellow walls mossing over for lack of games and climbing. There will be no threading of old laces through conkers, this year, no weeks of eating pumpkin for the sake of a carving. I pick up a windfall apple, cut it open to count the seed. It does not give me the answer that I need. The cider press will stay in the hay loft gathering dust.

    There will be no harvest again, and so no festival.

    1. Wow, I’m really curious about how you do this. Do your ideas come fully formed or do you spend a lot of time editing? I try to get the first thing down in my attempts without editing (probably obvious) as my aim is to improve my idea generation :-)

  2. ‘Twas at a harvest festival
    as autumn leaves were falling.
    I drank a cider surfeit and
    oblivion came calling.

    My fall was not spectacular
    or so, at least I’m told.
    But a head and flooring interface
    knocked me out stone cold.

    And in the midnight of my mind
    there was no day or night,
    it was all as one to me
    an equinox of light.

    My head misshapen oddly
    (quite pumpkin-like, in fact).
    Autumnal coloured bruises
    like tattoos tightly packed.

    While the creeping seed of winter
    a cold mist in my head
    mellowed my perceptions
    reality had fled.

    Yes, Mabon has a price tag
    so revellers beware!
    Chestnuts aren’t eternal
    when winter’s in the air.

  3. Iain – I love it. I read a lot of humour, but it’s not a strength when it comes to my writing. You really made me smile Been there, done that!

    Linda, the answer to your question is neither. I’m doing this prompt response thing as practice and a bit of fun, so I can’t afford to spend too much time on it. I might google a few things to give the piece a grounding, but certainly not hours of “research”. Then I start writing & see where it goes. This one had a couple of false starts. It began as a sentimental piece, then wanted to be a poem, & finally took refuge in a dark future. I’ve spent a lot of time in Wales, so I had visual memories to work with. Start to finish, about two / two-&-a-half hours, including looking up Mabon – who I couldn’t work in properly, so resorted to a contrivance. That said, I like the idea of a ‘Mabon mist’ – it feels like it might be a thing.

  4. Thanks Lesley – glad it made you smile. I love your piece – very evocative and poetic with Mabon mist, cloaks of dew and children fledged and flown, to name but three. 👍👏

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