Last year I posted a short poem by Thomas Hood which reflected my view of what is, I think, the least interesting month of the year. Not being poetic myself, I thought I’d revisit this theme, as it is fertile ground for some very descriptive (and dismal!) poetry. My apologies to those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, who no doubt are basking in sunshine and increasing temperatures and must be wondering what I’m on about: I guess your equivalent must be May, when autumn turns to winter for you. Feeling short of inspiration to recall any poems about this month I turned to the obvious reference source, Google. If you do the same you’ll appreciate how much dreary doggerel I’ve spared you by not sharing them with you here! The great (?) McGonagall seems to have been particularly taken with bad news stories from this month, but I’m not going to waste our time on those! One poem that did strike me in both its beauty and brevity was this one:
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
That is called November Night and is by a poet I’ll admit to not having heard of before. Let’s face it, if you’d heard the name Adelaide Crapsey you’d remember it! I rather like that little poem and didn’t just choose it so that I could mention the poet’s name, honest! I found this biography of her and it seems she lived a brief and tragic life. This poem was written when she was already aware of her own mortality, having been diagnosed with tuberculosis of the brain lining, and this makes it all the more poignant for me. The imagery of passing ghosts assumes extra significance when you know that she is one herself. In just 20 words she has captured perfectly the essence of November, as I believe it.
The weather here for the past few days has been dull and breezy, and my eye has frequently been caught by brown leaves blowing past my window and coming to rest on my small patio area, awaiting my appearance with a broom. But my practical nature takes over: if I brush them away they’ll only come back, and we have no garden waste collection here so putting them in a sack isn’t an option. So here they sit, and here they stay, for now.