November

by Antonia Clark
The Waters
Second Place, December 2016
Judged by Richard Krawiec


I love the way you come to us—
tentative, slow, in your threadbare
dress, muted, undone, hands
cold, eyes warning of snow.

I love your dwindling, the whisper
of sadness in your passing.
You give us pause, brief stillness,
respite before madness.

I love your hymns and pilgrims.
Your frost moon, high and fair.
Your mackerel skies. Morning rime.
The winter in your hair.

I love your ballots and flags,
rows of white crosses, a clasping
of hands, every bowed head
thankful, despite our losses.

I love your wet gravel, bare
branches, damp bark. The last
chrysanthemum. The gathering dark.
Hot chocolate, toddies, cider, rum.

I’m frazzled and ragged. You’re
woodsmoke and rain. Welcome
home, old friend. Sit here a while.
Wrap me in your soft gray coat again.


The personification of a month - one that, for many, has brought sorrow and death - into something warm and comforting is well developed through strong imagery. The poet tells us she/he “loves” The threadbare dress, dwindling, whisper of sadness...then we move on to more obviously loveable items - hymns, frost moon, morning rime. Through the events(ballots) and harvests(cider) of the season, the poet comes to recognize the warmth in this old friend, the woodsmoke with the rain. --Richarc Krawiec

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