November light

Photo: Joseph Gruber, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Photo: Joseph Gruber, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Two years ago I had this idea that each month of the year shone with its own unique quality of light, and that I should write a twelve-poem cycle that would capture those qualities. Until yesterday, I had managed to write one–for August. But now there are just ten left. I figure I’ll be ready for press by 2020.

November is pretty tough–dark, wet, cold, stingy. But there are a few moments that can help you last out the coming winter.

November Light

The last sweet day of November
comes after days of gloom and rain
while you are still in mourning for the fallen leaves,
resigned to coming cold and endless dark.

It comes after a frosty night has filtered the wind
and dry leaves crunch underfoot to add
their tannic tang to the odor of the air.
It comes sultry, in the 60s, and dazzlingly bright.

One last day. The sky holds blue to the horizon
except for a scribble of cumulus clouds,
some drawn long by mid-altitude winds,
some stacked serenely into stiller upper air.

Such a glory of blue and white that the eyes rise
squinting up from the dull brown and gray surround
despite themselves. How could they not?
A sane man would take the day off from work.

But these few moments will have to do.
November is a parsimonious month.
It was only luck that there was even this,
and just your usual luck to have it be a weekday.

Still, days later, you remember that brief warmth
on your face like the blush of love, and you taste
again that last sip of brightness, precious now
as the flash of a cardinal’s wing amid twilight cedars.


9 Comments on “November light”

  1. Florence McCloud says:

    In reading “November Light” poem, I remembered my own “November Light” poem — written in 2011.

    November Light

    Casts itself down in sheaves of color,
    slinking from bronze to gold to copper
    on the side of the house next door
    with its bare, single trees. I don’t
    remember seeing this kind of light
    in November, light that infuses
    everything with an aura,
    making buildings, landscapes
    shadowed, suggestive. The fields
    are now browning — at last —
    despite the late warmth.
    The whole mountain is washed
    in this light. Somehow I take this
    as a sign, that this time of year –
    past the intense colors burning
    themselves out, dying — has some
    beauty – unknown, nameless,
    everywhere. Why do I see it now,
    between times? Light, mysteries
    to living, healing light.

    Florence McCloud

  2. you got it right. a very good poem.

  3. ncpradmin says:

    Very nice, Florence. Thanks.

    Dale Hobson, NCPR

  4. kathy curro says:

    Your finding a way to paint in words is a gift. Write! Write more!

  5. Lovely, Dale. As I thawed my feet by the wood stove, mindful that more than half of November is still to come, I read this and smiled at the possibility of the return of warmth and perhaps one more glorious day.

  6. Doug Butler says:

    Wonderful portrayal of those rare November Days. I recall the day this past week that everyone in our choral group called “a gift”‘because of the bright blue sky, cottony clouds and relative warmth as they came into our evening rehearsal. Looking forward to the remaining 10.

  7. Ted Champagne says:

    Thank you for that poem, Dale. I like it.

  8. Cindy Randi says:


    A lovely reminder of what November can be – gratitude for “what is”.

  9. Mr. Wakiki says:

    november light

    a november to remember
    until december

    a harsh damp dusting of what
    winter will be

    darkness creeping in
    at each end of the day

    opportunities for adventures
    that require headlamps
    or quilts

    the cuddling pleasure

    surprising you like
    the warmth forming
    between the storm door
    and the wooden scuttle

    there will be snow
    and the scramble
    for gloves and sweaters

    the snow will light
    on your hat
    as you walk
    holding to you like
    you were
    the king of winter

    in a crystal crown

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