My November Guest

November gallops. The first fourteen days pass in what feels like a week and the next fourteen last for around five days and then the month is almost spent. Today is the last penny in the purse. It’s the darkest month too. I know that on paper December is darker, but December disguises itself with sparkle and twinkling lights and all things Christmas. By and large, November has the good sense to remain extinguished and unadorned, leaving us to notice how dark and bare it has suddenly become. It’s the handover month, the it’s-beginning-to-look-a-bit-like-winter month, the drying-up-for-snow month. All of which amounts to why I don’t mind November’s inexorable turning to cold leaflessness: because it is new. By the end of the month, though, the novelty has eroded, the drama of winter has worn thin with me despite it having barely begun. I embrace seven consecutive months of the year – May to November – and endure the others. I feel spikes of positivity in May, July and November. May leaves the tease of April in its wake. April is the let-down guest, the one who arrives in full of promise but has actually come empty-handed, unlike May who carries an overflowing basket. And July is all bare-footed exuberance and dancing. November, I see as the last man standing at the party, and fair play to him, lingering by the door even when the band have packed up. I always wish November would stay longer, but a party has to finish, and the November guest must go. December, I’m ready for you. I think.

Robert Frost, My November Guest

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.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

2 thoughts on “My November Guest

  1. This is so lovely. I love so much about it, like ‘the last penny in the purse’, ‘disguises itself with sparkle’, ‘extinguished and unadorned’, ‘bare-footed exuberance’. You’ve described November and the other months so wonderfully. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

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