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.

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