Poem of the Month: November

“The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.”
— Jean Cocteau
“The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.”
— Jean Cocteau

It’s been one year now since I started the poem of the month feature, and Rita Dove’s poetry perfectly marks this one-year anniversary of sorts. To me, this poem reflects patience and waiting. Dove reminds us to be in this moment, noting that “snow would the easy way out”—a relief to the anxious wait of the turn of weather. “So we wait” and these things are born out of our waiting. In the end, the waiting pays off—we are ready to face nature no matter what she brings.


November for Beginners

by Rita Dove

Snow would be the easy

way out—that softening

sky like a sigh of relief

at finally being allowed

to yield. No dice.

We stack twigs for burning

in glistening patches

but the rain won’t give.


So we wait, breeding

mood, making music

of decline. We sit down

in the smell of the past

and rise in a light

that is already leaving.

We ache in secret,



a gloomy line

or two of German.

When spring comes

we promise to act

the fool. Pour,

rain! Sail, wind,

with your cargo of zithers!



(Image found here.)

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