Image courtesy: Toa Heftiba, Unsplash
Hello, dVerse Poets!
Sanaa here, (aka adashofsunny) to stir your muses. The days have led us to Fall, when the leaves on the cherry trees blush pink or gold; the shortening days mean longer nights and pave the way for introspection.
November. Symbolically it seems to be the representation of the final stage, a culmination of sorts – be it the ongoing year or a chapter in one’s life.
Significance of November in History:
For centuries, this month has played a significant role in shaping the world and ideologies that support it. Here are a few worthy of note:
November 1 ,1848 – The first medical school for women opened in Boston which was founded by Samuel Gregory with just twelve students.
November 3, 1948 – Dewey Defeats Truman banner headline appeared on the front page of the Chicago Tribune newspaper.
November 5 – Remembered as Guy Fawkes Day in Britain, for the anniversary of the failed “Gunpowder Plot” to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I in 1605.
November 7, 1885 – Canada’s first transcontinental railway, the Canadian Pacific, was completed in British Columbia.
November 13 – Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Best known for Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
November 17, 1558 – Queen Elizabeth I ascended the throne of England at the age of 25, reigning until 1603 when she was 69.
November 24, 1859 – Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was first published, theorizing that all the living creatures descended from a common ancestor.
November 28 – British artist and poet William Blake (1757-1827) was born in London. Best known for Songs of Innocence examining life through the eyes of children and Songs of Experience exploring adult viewpoints of the world.
Image courtesy: Nathan Anderson, Unsplash
I have long loved the feeling that accompanies the arrival of this month and have read a lot of beautiful poems over the years.
by Elizabeth Drew Stoddard
Much have I spoken of the faded leaf;
Long have I listened to the wailing wind,
And watched it ploughing through the heavy clouds;
For autumn charms my melancholy mind.
When autumn comes, the poets sing a dirge:
The year must perish; all the flowers are dead;
The sheaves are gathered; and the mottled quail
Runs in the stubble, but the lark has fled!
Still, autumn ushers in the Christmas cheer,
The holly-berries and the ivy-tree:
They weave a chaplet for the Old Year’s heir;
These waiting mourners do not sing for me!
I find sweet peace in depths of autumn woods,
Where grow the ragged ferns and roughened moss;
The naked, silent trees have taught me this, —
The loss of beauty is not always loss!
‘November’ by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard describes the emotions a speaker feels in regards to the coming of autumn.
She refers to the wailing wind, the dying of flowers and shares with the reader that even though the month signals the end of the year, she has learned to love the change that comes with it.
by Samuel Longfellow
Summer is gone; but summer days return;
The winds and frosts have stripped the woodlands bare,
Save for some clinging foliage here and there;
Then as if, pitiful, her heart did yearn,
Nature, the loving mother, lifts her urn
And pours the stream of life to her spent child:
The desert air grows strangely soft and mild,
And in his veins the long-fled ardors burn.
So, when we pass the mid-years of our lives,
And, sad or glad, we feel our work nigh done,
There come to us with sudden, swift returns,
The glow, the thrill, which show that youth survives,
That—though through softening mists—still shines the sun;
And in our souls the Indian summer burns.
As a private man, Longfellow did not often add autobiographical elements to his poetry. Much of his work is recognized for its melodious musicality. I am in awe of his style as he seeks to describe November as a “spent child,” and am reminded yet again of the year’s end and supposedly the hard work attached to it.
by William Cullen Bryant
Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapory air,
Ere, o’er the frozen earth, the loud winds run,
Or snows are sifted o’er the meadows bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,
And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
And the blue gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
In the poem “November,” Bryant expresses perhaps what most of us feel at this time of the year. It is the idea that of trying to get that last bit of Fall out of nature and trying to put off the inevitable portrayal of Winter’s fierce grip on the Earth.
So, what do these poets have in common? From what I gather it is fervent breath that seeks to make its way through the despair and gloom. And isn’t that exactly what we need in times like these?
Sources: The History Palace, November
For today’s Poetics, I would like you to write a poem about November and tell us what it means to you. I aim for this prompt to be wide in scope. You can discuss what this month reminds you of, political or non-political. It can be a seasonal poem if you like. You can also use a painting for inspiration or perhaps a song. There are so many! As long as you stick to the parameters of the prompt, you are fine.
New to dVerse? Here’s how to join in:
*Write a poem (in any form) in response to the challenge.
*You will find links to other poets and more will join, so check back later to read their poems.
*Read and comment on other poets’ work–we all come here to have our poems read.
*Please link back to dVerse from your site/blog.