Lurid, Autumn’s Gold

Lurid can symbolize the translucent shade of autumn leaves, its gold, but it can also fade into a dying pale-yellow.

The morning mist enveloped autumn’s shades
And auburn, crimson, scarlet –
They all paled
And blended into lurid,
The yellow pale.
Beneath the nascent sky.

Lurid, Autumn’s Gold

If lurid mushrooms come your way,
They’re good and healthy and they should stay
For supper, if they may.
But bright ones, picked in Autumn…
Stay away!
Or you own skin will turn lurid…
One day.

Lurid Autumn's Gold

I let them fly,
Between the Autumn’s wings,
My dreams,
Like lurid ghosts amid the yellow leaves.

Lurid Autumn's Gold

Some words still carry an emotional burden, like lurid.

Used in 17th century to describe stages of bruising and corpses, lurid sipped into nature: lifeless, pale, yellowish leaves of Autumn… Then it floated to ghastly light… And, finally, made the shocking news:

Taliban destroyig the Bamiyan Buddhas. Lurid, Autumn's Gold

The ghastly, lurid light that covered the Afghan earth when Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas in March 2001.

I wrote about it in my book Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for.

Lurid originates in Latin luridus, yet it was only after the 16th century that it was extensively used in English.

On our travels to Transylvania’s Corvin Castle my feet followed timeworn steps along a spiral staircase. I was looking forward to a view of the moat and the evergreen forests that shield this medieval fortress.

There was no banister to rest my hand on as I climbed the stairs. There were only the ancient stone blocks building to a tower as wide as my elbows and as cold to touch as the draft hissing from above. Before I knew it I was past the point of no return. The ending not in sight yet and the departure point long lost, I felt suspended in time and space. Anything could have happened and no one would have known.

Only the cold draft whispered around me, and only my heavy breathing answered it. I blamed it, together with the dizzy spell that had blurred my vision, on the narrow steps curling in high increments.

Crawling on my hands and knees I emerged into a stony cell bathed in lurid light.

lurid Corvin Castle stone cell
Not even the midday sun can shake the lurid feel of this Corvin Castle stony dungeon

Not even the midday sun streaming through a slit in the stone could shake the uneasy feeling that followed me up there. A draft of wind whispered past my ears and hurried down the stairs and I felt like a prisoner swap had just taken place, with me the one to draw the short straw.

There are more short stories inspired by Transylvania’s history in my latest book:

Transylvania book travel time
Transylvania book travel time

I hope you enjoyed Lurid, Autumn’s Gold . You might also like to read:

Feuille-Morte and A Nightingale in Autumn

A Journey through the Medieval City of Sighisoara, Romania

34 Replies to “Lurid, Autumn’s Gold”

  1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Diana, and for stopping by. Between the colors of autumn, I think that lurid, that life-less yellow, always made me a bit sad. Now I understand why.

  2. I’ve learned a new word today. I liked a lot the poem of the mushrooms. (good to know, btw 🙂 ). But I also enjoyed the creepy feeling that your description of Corvin Castle’s dungeon, gave me. Beautifully written.

            1. Nope! But today is the first awful day. Warm weather until mid-November is quite something.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this diverse look at a word I never gave much thought to Patricia. I truly enjoyed the storytelling qualities depicted in your poem. Have an awe-inspiring day my friend!

  4. Beautiful. I miss the changing colors of Autumn. I could feel the walls closing in as you climbed the stairs to the tower – chilling.

    1. I know how you feel, Judy. Autumns here in South Africa don’t have such a wide palette of colors either. And to top it all, it’s spring now 🙂

      Glad the tale grabbed you. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Best wishes.

  5. This is so haunting, Patricia. I didn’t know that the word lurid has such a vast history. I love your poetry and also the account of climbing those stairs. I guess lurid is what we make of it. The images convey your thoughts wonderfully. :-).

  6. Hi Patricia! This was a new word for me. I loved the poems and the prose fragments you shared to describe the different meanings of the word.

  7. Oh my. The poem, divine. The story scary. And you were alone? I wouldn’t have gone that far up. But I’m a scaredy cat, you see. You are most certainly not. Good for you. Thanks for the story. xoxo

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