“November” by Maggie Dietz

“La Belle Jardiniere – November” by Eugène Grasset (1896)

 

Ah, November!

The eleventh month often gets a bad rap. Sometimes described as “somber,” “gloomy,” or “dreary,” it’s neither here nor there.

October, with its splendid, crisp days and peak foliage is quintessential autumn —  a very hard act to follow. As Anne Shirley famously said, “I’m glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

Poor November. Shock of color gone, trees showing their bare bones, chilly winds — suddenly we’re reminded of year’s end, darkness to come. We reflect on our unmet resolutions, mourn the transience of time. At least December has much to distract us with its holiday cheer and bustle, a winter welcome tied with a pretty red bow.

And yet.

 

“Autumn Leaves” by John Everett Millais (1856)

 

Good things happen in November. It’s my birthday month (as well as Len’s, my dad’s and brother-in-law’s). It’s a time to honor veterans (like my mom), and of course, there’s Thanksgiving, when the house smells of spiced cider, roast turkey, homemade pies, squash and pumpkin everything.

A time for gathering in, but also gathering together. Expressing gratitude. Feasting. Who wouldn’t love a month where food takes center stage?

So I’m okay with this take stock, get ready, fortify yourself month. It’s my chance to bask in the fading light and exquisite melancholy. Shorter days? More time for reading and dreaming. 🙂

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“November Freshet” by John Ottis Adams (1897)

 

NOVEMBER
by Maggie Dietz

Show’s over, folks. And didn’t October do
A bang-up job? Crisp breezes, full-throated cries
Of migrating geese, low-floating coral moon.

Nothing left but fool’s gold in the trees.
Did I love it enough, the full-throttle foliage,
While it lasted? Was I dazzled? The bees

Have up and quit their last-ditch flights of forage
And gone to shiver in their winter clusters.
Field mice hit the barns, big squirrels gorge

On busted chestnuts. A sky like hardened plaster
Hovers. The pasty river, its next of kin,
Coughs up reed grass fat as feather dusters.

Even the swarms of kids have given in
To winter’s big excuse, boxed-in allure:
TVs ricochet light behind pulled curtains.

The days throw up a closed sign around four.
The hapless customer who’d wanted something
Arrives to find lights out, a bolted door.

~ from That Kind of Happy (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

 

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Maggie Dietz received a BA from Northwestern University and an MA from Boston University. She is the author of That Kind of Happy (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and Perennial Fall (University of Chicago Press, 2006), winner of the 2007 Jane Kenyon Award from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Dietz has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and Phillips Exeter Academy, among others. She previously served as director of Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project, coediting three anthologies related to the project. She currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell and lives in New Hampshire.

 

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The beautiful, talented, and exceedingly clever Michelle Barnes is hosting the Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty. With bed head and election results, she’s somewhat of a basket case this week, sharing fab poems with commentary. And do I love all the bear talk? Why yes, yes I do. Check out the full menu of poetry goodness and have a delicious Novemberish weekend.


Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

poetry friday roundup is here!

Welcome Friends, Please Come In!

Why hello! What brings you here?

A poetry lover? You’re just the person I was hoping to see! Come in, make yourself at home, and help yourself to a cup of warm cider. Would you like an apple cider donut to go with that?

via heidi33

Today I’m happy to share one of my very favorite Autumn poems ever, by the one and only Barbara Crooker. She has perfectly captured the gorgeous melancholy that defines the season. Whenever I read this poem aloud, I’m amazed anew at the beauty of the English language and marvel at Barbara’s diction, phrasing, and musicality. Quite simply: a polished gem, a word painting, a heart song that takes my breath away.

THIS TIME OF YEAR,

when the light leaves early, sun slipping down
behind the beech trees as easily as a spoon
of cherry cough syrup, four deer step delicately
up our path, just at the moment when the colors
shift, to eat fallen apples in the tall grass.
Great grey ghosts. If we steal outside in the dark,
we can hear them chew. A sudden movement,
they’re gone, the whiteness of their tails
a burning afterimage. A hollow pumpkin moon rises,
turns the dried corn to chiaroscuro, shape and shadow;
the breath of the wind draws the leaves and stalks
like melancholy cellos. These days are songs, noon air
that flows like warm honey, the maple trees’ glissando
of fat buttery leaves. The sun goes straight to the gut
like a slug of brandy, an eau-de-vie. Ochre October:
the sky, a blue dazzle, the grand finale of trees,
this spontaneous applause; when darkness falls
like a curtain, the last act, the passage of time,
that blue current; October, and the light leaves early,
our radiant hungers, all these golden losses.

~ copyright © 2005 Barbara Crooker (from Radiance, published by Word Press). All rights reserved.

Show us your poems!

Please leave your links with Mr. Linky below. Don’t forget to include the title of your poem or book you’re reviewing in parentheses after your name. I will update throughout the day.

TODAY’S POETRY FRIDAY MENU (sip, savor, chew, swallow):

1. Charles Ghigna (“House of Perfection”)

2. Heidi Mordhorst (“Twenty-four Doors,” an original)

3. jama (“Apple Season”)

4. Gathering Books (Walking Free by Gemino Abad)

5. Teacher Dance (A Goodbye, original)

6. Robyn Hood Black (original wolfy poetry)

7. Amy LV (“I Love Choosing” & P*Tag!)

8. Judy (To the Grass of Autumn, W.S. Merwin)

9. Susan Taylor Brown (Proof of Life, original poem)

10. Mary Lee (Subway Poem)

11. Carol (“To Failure” by Philip Larkin)

12. Tabatha (Edward Shanks)

13. Tara (October poems by Bobbi Katz)

14. Ben @ The Small Nouns (Poetry Mix  Tape: Autumn Poems)

15. Maria Horvath’s Daily Poems (“For an Amorous Lady”)

16. Laura Salas (Dogku by Andrew Clements)

17. Laura Salas (15 Words or less poems)

18. KK’s Kwotes (quote by Paul Janeczko)

19. Kurious Kitty (Where Home Begins)

20. Diane Mayr (“Power Source”)

21. Kids of the Homefront Army (“Up Late”)

22. Julie Larios (P*Tag)

23. Greg Pincus (“My Father’s Hair”)

24. Irene Latham (Ars Poetica 5 for Friday)

25. Sara Lewis Holmes (Bad Taste)

26. Sylvia Vardell (Upcoming presentation at the IBBY Regional Conference)

27. Wild Rose Reader (Original Halloween Haiku)

28. The Write Sisters (Now Close the Windows)

29. Katie @ Secrets & Sharing Soda (Lemonade by Bob Raczka)

31. Donna (Shushing)

32. david e. (haul-o-ween)

33. Miss Rumphius (At the Sea Floor Café)

34. April @ Teaching Authors (two Thankus)

35. Janet Squires (Hallowilloween)

36. Kelly Ramsdell Fineman (Troubled Water)

37. Mandy Webster (Rules for the Dance by Mary Oliver)

38. Joyce Ray (J. Patrick Lewis poetry exercise)

39. MsMac (Robert Frost)

40. Ruth (Villain)

41. Wrung Sponge (original haiku)

42. Adrienne (Walt Whitman)

43. Polka Dot Owl (Jack Prelutsky)

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Thanks for participating and have a good weekend!

 

 

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.