November: The Most Depressing Month?

November road fallen leavesNovember’s probably my least favorite month. This year I’m feeling great, in part because I’ve begun work on the sequel to my vampire soap opera thriller Hope Dawns Eternal. But in November of 2010, I was mired in a deep depression. I wrote this poem in Julie Gutman’s class at the Arts Center of the Capital Region. The assignment was to write a poem modeled after Wallace Stevens’ Twelve Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

I write my strongest poetry when I’m depressed. It’s a wonderful form of therapy. Lots of the imagery I used still applies, but the way I’m looking at it now is much sunnier. Still, I dedicate this poem to those readers who are prone to doom and gloom at this time of year. Trust in the sunny days to come!

Eleven Ways of Looking at November

I.

Rusty crimson leavesNovember smoke tree

Cling to my smoke tree

Breathing in pale November sunlight.

 

II

The dead oak’s gray-brown branches

Hollowed by woodpeckers

Past Halloween

Sway outside my window

Waiting for November’s winds

To tear them down at last.

 

III

My mother died in late November.

I crafted a comforting casserole

From the dregs of Thanksgiving dinner.

 

IV

I savor the cold November breezeNovember crooked tree

Wafting across my body from the open window.

Swaddled in Polar Fleece to save on oil,

I’ve learned to welcome the encroaching cold.

 

V

Election Day’s finally over. News is bad

This chill November morning.

A hard freeze frosts the fallen autumn leaves

Ushering in years of deadlock and decline.

 

VI

The slanting sun casts shadows on the siding

Of the house across the way, silhouetting

A scrawny maple shedding yellow leaves.

Its roots snake unseen beneath our basement.

November’s high time to take it down but even so

We’ll probably let it be.

 

VII

A friend my age is failing. A housebound invalid,

She measures out these cold November days

In solitude, refuses visitors.

She longs for death, having a valid reason

To succumb.

 

VIII

Weeds have repossessedNovember dead thistles

My withering November garden.

Only stonecrop thrives

Among the shriveled thistles, chicory

And Queen Anne’s Lace. In my depression,

I let them go to seed.

 

IX

Daylight savings’s over in November.

Fall back and gain an extra hour

To while away in bed

Dreading another day

Of uninspired ordinary options.

 

X

November rain falls hard and cold

Grave of my golden retriever Lucky

Grave of my golden retriever Lucky

On my neglected garden

Nourishing buried bulbs of daffodil and crocus.

In spring they’ll bloom again around the graves

Of late beloved pets.

 

XI

People are prone to seasonal affective sadness

In this the eleventh month, so says my shrink.

But still I hold firm to nearly barren branches,

Stubborn as rusty crimson smoke tree leaves

In the November rain.

 

©Julie Lomoe

November 4, 2010

 

 

2 thoughts on “November: The Most Depressing Month?

  1. I know, I thought of that stanza especially when I was rereading the poem. Interesting that 2010 and 2014 were both midterm elections. But this one is much worse! I manage not to let politics get to me, though..

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