Friday, November 06, 2009


I've always loved November. It's a quiet month -- melancholy and restful, a month to turn inwards, to light fires and read and think. The Celts celebrated their new year now, on the cusp of winter -- the end of the light half of the year and the start of the dark half.

Maybe it's because I was born in November that I feel an affinity for its sombreness and severity, the clear chill of the wind and the spare beauty of the season. The gaudy leaves and skies of October are gone and the colour palette has narrowed to blacks and browns and white. Beauty is still there, but changed, and you have to look for it.

November's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear.
-Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, canto 1, introduction

When shrieked
The bleak November winds, and smote the woods,
And the brown fields were herbless, and the shades
That met above the merry rivulet
Were spoiled, I sought, I loved them still; they seemed
Like old companions in adversity.
- William Cullen Bryant, A Winter Piece

The dusky waters shudder as they shine,
The russet leaves obstruct the straggling way
Of oozy brooks, which no deep banks define,
And the gaunt woods, in ragged scant array,
Wrap their old limbs with sombre ivy twine.
- Hartley Coleridge, November

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.
- Robert Lee Frost, My November Guest

The dead leaves their rich mosaics
Of olive and gold and brown
Had laid on the rain-wet pavements,
Through all the embowered town.
- Samuel Longfellow, November

The wild November come at last
Beneath a veil of rain;
The night winds blows its folds aside,
Her face is full of pain.
The latest of her race, she takes
The Autumn's vacant throne:
She has but one short moon to live,
And she must live alone.
- Richard Henry Stoddard, November

Wrapped in his sad-colored cloak, the Day, like a Puritan, standeth
Stern in the joyless fields, rebuking the lingering color,--
Dying hectic of leaves and the chilly blue of the asters,--
Hearing, perchance, the croak of a crow on the desolate tree-top.
- Bayard Taylor, Home Pastorals--November


  1. Oh, you got all poetical and such on us. And now I'm going to ruin the intelligent peaceful mood to shout:


  2. What a beautiful blog you have here.

  3. I'm devastated that the poetical gem I posted on Facebook wasn't deemed worthy of inclusion!!

  4. Intellectually I agree with you about November. Emotionally it knocks me on my ass. Beautiful post, though.

  5. Ok, nice poetry, now change that number in "how old (young) I am". Don't let's be having this conversation at Easter....

  6. Anonymous2:04 PM

    Just to let you know I think your blog is fantastic and will be following you. Great photos! I currently live in France but will be moving to Toronto in summer so its good to see some photos of what to expect!

  7. Great photos! I love the one of the post with the snow! The poetry was neat also! I enjoyed your blog!