Autumn in Pennsylvania in 2023

In response to Susan Jarvis Bryant’s
poem on “Autumn in Texas”

If Autumn is a bummer down in Texas,
Up north it casts forth some contrasting hexes.

Fall has befallen us in Bill Penn’s Woods
We feel the reel of summer’s passing goods
Run low when mornings usher in the Cool.
Anxiety is quietly in full

Swing like a host of ghosts encircling round
My cozy state. Each morning I am found
In mourning, in the scorning chill I hate:
The quiet thrill of demons bearing freight.

Their steady diet of the chill will fill
The Autumn air and kill the bugs and shill
The wrath of Winter with nice colors—all
But green! Such is the fateful funk of Fall.

I would debunk it, if I could, for good,
Or flush the season down the flusher! Would
I then be satisfied? I’d not. The bride
Of Satan—Winter—still would then betide

My less than cozy Pennsylvania state,
Imposing frozen noses and a spate
Of cold and dark and dank and dismal fare
Forever—until Spring repairs the air.

Except this year my team plays in the Fall:
Baseball, it seems, redeems Fall’s protocol.



Jeff Kemper has been a biology teacher, biblical studies instructor, editor, and painting contractor. He lives in York County, Pennsylvania.

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12 Responses

  1. Roy Eugene Peterson

    You have not only baseball, but football teams that are doing well this fall. I did note the Texas mention. I enjoyed your fall poem.

    • Jeff Kemper

      Thanks, Roy. However, my team is the cinderella Orioles who were swept by the Rangers, so the redemption didn’t last long. But I am a KC Chiefs fan, so there’s some more seasonal redemption to be had … I hope.

  2. Shamik Banerjee

    A beautiful response! Love the little internal rhymes, and of course, the witty ending. Also, I learned a new word, ‘shill’. Thank you for this beautiful poem, Jeff.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    I’ve spent more than a score of autumns in Pennsylvania, but rarely with so much hope for the local teams. You are fortunate that your loyalties & affinities are a bit more far-flung. Go, Whoever!

    • Jeff Kemper

      My baseball affections are with the Orioles and the Pirates, so I’ve had fond memories followed by many years of doldrums.

  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Jeff, I love this! What a perfect contrast to my Texas Autumn poem. I especially like that ” fateful funk of Fall”… and the atmospheric “Anxiety is quietly in full / Swing like a host of ghosts encircling round/My cozy state – replete with tongue-twisting, alliterative panache! Great stuff!

    • Jeff Kemper

      Thank you, Susan! Were I to experience Texas as you have, perhaps I would wish for a Pennsylvanian Autumn again.


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