Oh November

chicken profile vase, All Images by Christyl Burnett.  Copyright 2018

My November Guest

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.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

-Robert Frost

from a Boy’s Will published in 1913

 

I love this poem for so many reasons.  It is moody like November.  It so fits my mood in November.

If you look around on the internet you can hear a recording of Frost reading the poem himself.

I like to have my drawing students read this poem because so much of being a visual artist is about expressing feeling and mood.  To be able to do that they need to feel things.  They can’t just perfect their hand-eye coordination and other technical skills and be done with it.  If they want their work to really speak to people it has to be more than nicely rendered drawings of quaint scenes.   Also, some people write November off as an ugly month but I want to encourage my students to get outside and feel November like Frost does in his poem.   No one always feels “beach party in July.”  Sometimes we are “pity party in November.”  Sorrow is just as important in human life as joy.  Lastly I want my drawing students to read this poem because other forms of art are employed all of the time to convey feeling and mood.  As visual artists we can learn so much from exploring how other artists, such as poets and songwriters, delve into feelings and mood.