Thursday, November 1, 2018

Welcome, November!

November 1st

"November is the aging year, a woman whose Springtime children have grown and gone their way but whose hair is often spangled, whose gray eyes are often alight, and whose dress of grays and browns is neither dour nor dowdy. November is berry-bright and firelight-gay, a glittering night, a crisp-blue day, a whispering wind and a handful of determined fence row asters.

November is the lithe hemlock in a green lace party dress, and a clean-limbed gray birch laughing in the wind. November is apple cider with champagne beads of authority; it is a gray squirrel in the limber top of the hickory tree, graceful as the wind;it is a doe and her fawn munching winesap windfalls over a Berkshire hilltop, and a woodchuck sniffing the wind and retreating to his den to sleep till April.

November is a rabbit hound baying the hillside; a farm boy in a canvas coat and a red cap, the 16-gauge in the crook of his arm, on the hills of the upper pasture; a grouse bursting from underfoot with a roar of wings and rocketing into the thicket. It is hog butchering and cracklings and sage and pepper and fresh sausage. It is a fox barking in the starlight and an owl in the old dead popple asking midnight questions. It is high-heaped firewood and leaf-banked walls and buckwheat cakes for breakfast.

And November is the memory of the years. It is turkey in the oven, and plum pudding and mince pie, and pumpkin and creamed onions and mashed yellow turnip. It is a feast and celebration; but it is also the remembering and the Thank You, God, and the understanding. That's the heart of it: November's maturing and understanding."

Hal Borland

"Sundial of the Seasons"
November 1955


  1. This was going so well until "creamed onions and mashed yellow turnip"! Bleeech! Maybe that's just me :) Thanks for sharing this, Jennifer. It takes the sting out of this month.

  2. That is a lovely poem, Jennifer, although, I have never liked November. It is the month when darkness comes early and the days turn grey. However, it is one month closer till spring.

  3. Over here, it used to be that October was golden and November grey, but in recent years, we often have enjoyed golden sunshine at least halfway through November, and sometimes, even the opening of our Christmas Market at the end of the month was on an evening so mild nobody wanted mulled wine.

  4. Love the poem. For us desert dwellers November is heaven, after the burning heat of summer, we have cooler nights and warm days.

    cheers, parsnip and badger

  5. I thought for a moment that I was reading Dylan Thomas. Berry-bright, and Firelight-gay made me think of Under Milk Wood. Lovely poem.

  6. That is fantastic. I love the bit about the fox barking in the starlight. We sometimes hear foxes in our back garden doing just that. (Though it's rare to see starlight in London!) Some people find November a melancholy time but I think Hal has really captured its beauty -- and I'm sure he'd be glad you're keeping his writing alive, 63 years later, in what for him would be an unthinkable medium!