Friday, November 9, 2007


by Russell Cotes

Today would have been Daisy Lupin's 57th birthday (I believe. If I am wrong as to her age, someone please correct me and I will change it.)
Before Daisy, one of the world's best bloggers, died unexpectedly in June, she had initated a Summer Poetry Fest. She chose the themes for poems for June, July, and August. Since then, I, in my feeble way, have tried to carry on with her fest, by choosing themes for September and October, and publishing poems in my blog.
I was thinking that November's poems should be about the ending of the year, since, naturally, thoughts in December would turn toward Christmas poems. But as I read other blogs, and searched the Internet, I discovered that November has a rich vocabulary all its own. There is enough poetry here for an entire Poetry Festival, let alone Poetry Fest. A feast, a carnival, a plethora of November poems!
I confess to having a hard time with November. When Daylight Savings Time ended at midnight Saturday, it gave us more light in the morning, but now, night descends before I even leave work. Soon, it will be dark during my morning and evening journeys. Already, I have scraped frost off my windshields. Already, I have wiped snow off my car.
December is different, even though the days are shorter. December is colored lights against soft snow. December is Christmas music drifting out over frozen parking lots. December is living Nativity scenes, church programs, community symphonies.
November in North Dakota is unremittingly brown and gray, or even - shudder -white. All our lovely color is gone. Mellow days are few. Out come the winter coats and gloves, scrapers and, if need be, shovels.
Fortunately, a couple of bloggers have helped me see the beauty of November. Several have printed some of the poems you see below (I found all of them by Googling "November Poems.")
Some poets agree with me that November is cold, cruel and capricious. Others look at the precious little that November has to offer, and revel in that.


This is the treacherous month when autumn days
With summer's voice come bearing summer's gifts.
Beguiled, the pale down-trodden aster lifts
Her head and blooms again. The soft, warm haze
Makes moist once more the sere and dusty ways,
And, creeping through where dead leaves lie in drifts,
The violet returns. Snow noiseless sifts
Ere night, an icy shroud, which morning's rays
Wildly shine upon and slowly melt,
Too late to bid the violet live again.
The treachery, at last, too late, is plain;
Bare are the places where the sweet flowers dwelt.
What joy sufficient hath November felt?
What profit from the violet's day of pain?

- Helen Hunt Jackson, "Autumn Sonnet"


The body is like a November birch facing the full moon
And reaching into the cold heavens.
In these trees there is no ambition, no sodden body, no leaves,
Nothing but bare trunks climbing like cold fire!

My last walk in the trees has come. At dawn
I must return to the trapped fields,
To the obedient earth.
The trees shall be reaching all the winter.

It is a joy to walk in the bare woods.
The moonlight is not broken by the heavy leaves.
The leaves are down, and touching the soaked earth,
Giving off the odors that partridges love.

- Robert Bly, "Solitude Late at Night in the Woods"

(Minnesota's own beloved Robert Bly!!)


November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

- Clyde Watson


No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds -

-Thomas Hood


The wild November come at last
Beneath a veil of rain;
The night winds blows its folds aside,
Her face is full of pain.
The latest of her race, she takes
The Autumn's vacant throne:
She has but one short moon to live,
And she must live alone.

- Richard Henry Stoddard, "November"


The stripped and shapely
Maple grieves
The ghosts of her
Departed leaves.
The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
The birds are flown.
And yet the world,
In its distress,
Displays a certain Loveliness--

-John Updike, "A Child's Calendar"


My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.
-Robert Frost, "My November Guest"


Dismal November! me it soothes to view,
At parting day, the scanty foliage fall
From the wet fruit tree, or the grey stone wall,
Whose cold films glisten with unwholesome dew;
To watch the yellow mists from the dank earth
Enfold the neighboring copse; while on as they pass
The silent rain-drops bend the long rank grass
Which wraps some blossom's unmaturéd birth.

- Charles Lloyd, "To Autumn"


Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky,
How beautiful it is?
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness
There is a poem, there is a song.
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with
The music of many leaves,
Which in due season fall and are blown away.
And this is the way of life.

- Krishnamurti

And as hard as it has been for me to do, I have resisted printing the lyrics to Guns 'n Roses' "November Rain." (She said, tongue in cheek. Tee Hee!)


Lena said...

Hi Julie,
This is a lovely post, in memory of Daisy Lupin. What a wonderful person she must have been, to have touched so many in the way that she did.
I love the excuse that November lends to my days, to just enjoy the quiet pleasures found in life. The garden has been put to rest and the table full of books and my craft room can be explored without me feeling like I should be doing other things. That feels like a gift to me. The calm colors, and the early night are a nice backdrop for candlelight, the moon, starshine, and the endless possibilities found within drawers filled with glitter, fabric and all the rest.
In late November we always have amazing wind, and storms that blow the cobwebs away. I can hardly wait!

Miss Robyn said...

I actually like November rain :)

and there is nothing feeble about the way you are honouring Daisy's memory! She would be honoured, I am sure.. and I think we must continue her tradition of posting our Christmas memories...
love you ! xoxo

oh and why not write your own November poetry? You KNOW you can do it!

Naturegirl said...

Julie I feel the same as you do in November and I conveyed that in my poetry post of Nov.1st. I struggle with accepting
the end to garden season and that is what November clearly means to me.No more roses or rose of sharon no more butterflys the day is shorter nights longer.I struggle with finding the beauty in November however since I have been ill for all of Sept./Oct. I am really trying to see the beauty in Nov. skys. The trees stripped of their leaves stand tall with their very unique shapes..the colors of brown golden and yellows certainly glow in the sushine.I will reread these
poetic words you posted and try real hard to see the beauty in November!
I like you and many others miss Daisy and her contributions to Bloglandia. I too love to post poetry with certain images that I share. Have a wonderful weekend dear friend lover of Celtic and poetry!

Hope that you entered my ~old bag~
have a great weekend! hugs aNNa

Anonymous said...

I never knew Daisy Lupin, but remember hearing about her death.
What a beatiful thing to carry on her poem feasts.