November In Verse

I’ve always found November a dull month. The clocks have just gone back, heralding the onset of long, dark evenings, the weather usually starts to turn from autumnal to wintery, and everything seems to be on hold until December arrives, bringing the promise of Christmas and good times with family. Unlike the USA, who have Thanksgiving Day, for us it’s a kind of nothing month. I don’t want to sound down, as I’m not, but that’s the way I think of it. I wondered if I was alone in that so I did some research, particularly into poems about November, to see what others thought of this month.

I found a short poem which summed it up perfectly for me. Before I share it with you, take a look at this from Google:


I must admit I hadn’t realised that death was a criterion by which poets were judged! The Robin Williams movie has a lot to answer for!

The first poem I’ve chosen to share is by Thomas Hood, and is simply called November:

imageHe doesn’t really like this month either, does he! At least he has shown me that my feelings about November are nothing new: Hood lived from 1799 to 1845 so that poem is almost 200 years old. Encouraged by finding this I thought I’d expand on 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.

Not being poetic myself, and feeling short of inspiration to recall any more poems about this month I returned to my main 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

And fall.

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.

IMG_0497The weather here for the past few days has been dismal – very wet and windy – 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.

(This post is an edited reworking of two posts previously written in 2014 and 2015 as part of my contributions to #NaBloPoMo. Current regular readers won’t have seen them so I thought them worth sharing again)

37 thoughts on “November In Verse

  1. endardoo November 24, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    I wrote this on my blog last week and now I realise I was writing about November without naming it:
    PS On the November theme, I recall a lugubriously cool French singer/actor with the great moniker Tom Novembre. It’s not his real name so he must like the 11th month!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive November 24, 2016 / 5:01 pm

      Great minds! Never heard of him, I must look him up. In my experience French singers are often dull and miserable though 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • endardoo November 24, 2016 / 5:05 pm

        Jeepers Clive, a whole history of chanson and musiques written off in one swoop! I lived in France for a while many years ago. Like anywhere there’s all sorts. To be honest, I only remember Monsieur Novembre as a an actor

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive November 24, 2016 / 5:11 pm

        Sorry, it just isn’t to my taste! Apart from Je T’aime and Plastique Bertrand I’m hard pressed to remember any French music I’ve enjoyed since the days of Françoise Hardy! I just tried one of his songs, and it met my expectations! Thanks for the follow, I’ll return the compliment.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. joanneeddy November 24, 2016 / 1:29 pm

    So, of course, Thanksgiving dawns grey and pouring rain. So much for our drive to Raleigh watching the leaves in the sun! November has its revenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive November 24, 2016 / 1:56 pm

      I think you should see that as a sign that someone is telling you to stay indoors in the warm with your family and enjoy a wonderful day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. joanneeddy November 24, 2016 / 6:11 am

    Oh, you brought back my northern remembrances, Clive. When we lived in upstate New York my least favorite months were November and March. November was dried up and brown…lost were October’s glories and only dry, curled leaves remained blown by frigid winds. Frost parched the grass and the sky was iron grey with heavy clouds. Syracuse is like Seattle very little sun, but snow instead of rain which also starts in November there. I can understand your poets disdain for November. I have to say that all changed here in North Carolina. We have long falls and the leaves are just hitting peak here now. Generally temperatures are in the 60s and even 70s day times and sunny, which really helps my mood! Cool at night, but I like that. No, no, no, more dreary Novembers for me!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clive November 24, 2016 / 8:14 am

      A very poetic description of how it used to be for you, Jo! It sounds even worse than here! You certainly seem to have moved to a far better climate, and it sounds lovely. I’m sure your new home will enable you to continue that enjoyment into retirement for many years to come. Have a wonderful day 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. mariaholm November 23, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    We have an equivalent poem in Denmark by Henrik Nordbrandt from 1986
    “The year have 16 months:
    November, December, January, February, March,
    May, June,July, August, September,
    October, November, November, November, November”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Stevie Turner November 23, 2016 / 12:20 pm

    As soon as the clocks go back, many people suffer with the SAD syndrome (seasonal affective disorder). My mother is such a person, but cheers up considerably in the summer months. However, it’s only November yet…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive November 23, 2016 / 12:27 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that, Stevie. I hope you can guide her through it. Hopefully Christmas and family will help.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. endardoo November 23, 2016 / 9:35 am

    It has its charms though none obvious. It’s why they invented Christmas and possibly all manner of beverages and pastimes

    Liked by 2 people

  7. thejuicenut November 22, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    Oh please keep going the both of you, this is keeping me entertained! 😂 I feel tthe same about November, love your poetry choices and I know Edinburgh too, I was once parked at some traffic lights outside the castle when the IRA decided to set off a bomb. Trouble was everyone thought it was the traditional firing of the cannon and paid it no mind!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clive November 22, 2016 / 8:19 pm

      Glad you’re enjoying it, Chris! If you like this, I can highly recommend Osyth’s blog – she writes beautifully. Those taciturn Scots, eh? They don’t move until someone rushes in and says ‘there’s been a murrrderrr’ 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • thejuicenut November 22, 2016 / 8:22 pm

        Thank you, I know Osyth, I love her dry wit and yes, she’s a wonderful writer. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    • Clive November 22, 2016 / 8:21 pm

      PS I’m glad you liked the poems, they describe this month well.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Clive November 23, 2016 / 4:31 pm

      Many thanks for your nomination, I’m very flattered! Sadly, you are very unlucky in your timing, as it is only a few days since I decided not to do any more awards and took the existing badges off my site! I’ve got some nominations going back years that I’ve never taken up, and it seemed wrong to leave them there. I’m very grateful, and hope I haven’t disappointed you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • MinionHead November 23, 2016 / 4:48 pm

        not at all Clive. glad to know u took notice ..I really like your blog and love to read em.. thanks 😃😃🌼🌼🌸🌸

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive November 23, 2016 / 5:00 pm

        Thank you, that’s very kind. I enjoy yours too 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Osyth November 22, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    I thought for one glorious moment you were going to share some of the magnificent bilge of McGonegal! Nice choices of poems and they certainly illustrate your point about November. My mother is quite peculiar about it. Says that people have a tendency to die in November. Which is not something I care to adhere to. Even when they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive November 22, 2016 / 4:45 pm

      Credit me with some taste, please! His rubbish should stay in the dustbin of ‘literary’ history! I thought those were both rather apt too, thanks. As for your Mum’s thought, I’d rather not test it out!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth November 22, 2016 / 4:54 pm

        In fairness both her parents and both her sisters died in November so she probably bases it in that but I have to say I am quite determined that she will not. As for William McG …. be kind – he was just ludicrous!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive November 22, 2016 / 5:01 pm

        I can see why she thinks that, and of course I hope you succeed in preventing a repeat! I thought mine was a pretty fair critical appraisal of McG 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth November 22, 2016 / 5:08 pm

        My older brother did his PhD in Edinburgh and I used to go and visit from London for a bit of respite and lusting after his friends – I used to entertain by reciting McG in a ham Scottish accent rather in the style of Janet from Dr Finlay’s Casebook. I have many talents 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      • Clive November 22, 2016 / 5:48 pm

        Lusting and Janet – the perfect combination 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth November 22, 2016 / 6:06 pm

        Janet was a pretty good disguise …. too good really – I don’t think any of them took me seriously!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive November 22, 2016 / 6:10 pm

        None of them preferred the more mature lady? You just can’t trust students, can you! I hope it hasn’t scarred you for life 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth November 22, 2016 / 6:49 pm

        I think they were all scared of my brother …. he used to run with a rucksack full of rocks up Arthur’s Seat which seemed to earn him some sort of Scotch respect!!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Clive November 22, 2016 / 6:53 pm

        That figures! It’s a good thing I know that Arthur’s Seat is a landmark 😊

        Liked by 2 people

      • Osyth November 22, 2016 / 6:56 pm

        Oh yes! That could have been an embarrassing misunderstanding!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Clive November 22, 2016 / 7:01 pm

        Your brother might have sued!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth November 22, 2016 / 7:14 pm

        Nah – he’s lived in Australia for 13 years …. its made him almost horizontal he’s so laid back!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Clive November 22, 2016 / 7:30 pm

        I can relate to that, I was once told I was so laid back I was still in last week 😊

        Liked by 2 people

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