And What Happened to November?

It’s the middle of November and I just tore off the October page on my desk pad calendar. The weather this month so far has been more October-like than I ever remember. It’s reminded me of one of the childhood poems a teacher had us memorize, “October’s Bright Blue Weather,” by Helen Hunt Jackson. I still remember the first verse,

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather.

The entire poem is at . In the Smokies last month I saw purple gentians and wished I knew the verse about gentians.

What has happened to November? And because the rest of the month is so scheduled, I feel like November is already gone. But the weather is finally colder and more November-like. My favorite November poem is “I Love the Fall” by Dixie Willson. I used to help my third-graders write it in their laborious cursive writing and then we would memorize it together. A wonderful exercise, with simple but memorable words. It begins:

I like the fall
The mist and all
I like the night owl’s lonely call
And wailing sound
Of wind around

You can read the whole poem at . If you read it aloud, be sure to draw out the “waaail-ing” sound and make a wind noise as my third-graders did.

One of the advantages I most enjoy about the internet is that you can know a snippet of a poem and magically find the entire piece right before your eyes. My mother and her brother-in-law my Uncle Gilliam Hawkins both had vast storehouses of poetry in their memories, but as they aged they would forget some of it. Mother would call him and say the part she knew, and he almost always could tell her the whole poem. That has to be even more fun than finding it online. I can still see Mother with the phone in her hand, nodding as she hears him give the rest of the poem. The internet may supply the words, but it will never replace the warmth of those people connections.