Friday, 14 November 2014

In Praise Of November

Do you know that slightly gloomy 19th C poem by Thomas Hood about November? It's one of those poems that I think I can remember quite well, but when I come to look it up, I find I haven't remembered it accurately at all. Some bits I've left out completely and I've added various lines that weren't in the original! So, for example, I was sure there was a line that went "No wind - no rain" but there isn't. The poem goes as follows

No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
no dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day -
no sky - no earthly view -
no distance looking blue -
no road - no street - no "t'other side the way" -
no end to any Row -
no indications where the Crescents go -
no top to any steeple -
no recognitions of familiar people -
no courtesies for showing 'em -
no knowing 'em! -
no travelling at all - no locomotion,
no inkling of the way - no notion -
"no go" - by land or ocean -
no mail - no post -
no news from any foreign coast -
no Park - no Ring - no afternoon gentility -
no company - no nobility -
no warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
no comfortable feel in any member -
no shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
no fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, -

An awful lot of "noes", but nothing about no wind and rain.  Hardly surprising, of course, as there's usually a fair bit of wind and rain in November.

Anyway, having looked the poem up, it seemed to me even more nihilistic than I remembered.  And I thought, actually, despite the wind and rain and a rather manic work schedule, this November so far has been rather lovely, so here is a little "apologia novembris", mostly in pics. A kind of antidote to any nihilistic November leanings, should they creep up on me unexpectedly. They make me feel that, yes, this month has had quite a bit of cheerfulness and "healthful ease" and I rather like its shade, its shine, its fruit, flowers and leaves.

The shine of clear morning light on the water of a mill stream 
"Distance looking blue" behind medlars ready for picking and bletting*
*the process by which medlars ripen almost to rotting before they are deemed best to eat
Lime-gold leaves fluttering in a shaft of sun
Early morning mist smudging sky and "earthly view" softly together
A full, glowing moon windowed in evening clouds
Birthday cake brownies for "familiar people"
Lacy light and shade from a St Martin's Day lantern
(pattern here)
Martinmas horseshoes - snow-dusted with sugar,  shared in "company" for the first day of winter
Knitting needles and yarn; beads and bright threads ...
... cheerfulness and preparations for Christmas
Soup the colour of fog - "healthful ease"  in a bowl
The warmth and "comfortable feel" of a log fire ...
... and candles on a dark November evening.
Many more positives than negatives, I feel, Mr Hood.

Wishing you all a happy November weekend!

E x


  1. That cheered me up no end, I've been trying to find the cheer amongst the grey days this week, I love that lattern shade so pretty as are those baubles such great colours Mrs T, have a great weekend
    Clare x

  2. And a very happy November to you too!!! The UK has certainly had an amazing November this year - unlike us here in SA ..... lots of rain, mist, drizzly fog.....YUK.... Please can we have our good weather back now???? xxx

  3. Ahh, this is my favorite time of the year as a rule. I love everything about fall (except the raking of leaves), the deep colors, the cool temps, the time to sit and craft inside. So what happened - 8 inches of snow! I think snow on the ground dictates indoor activities and crocheting for hours on end near the hearth! It's early for snow and it may indicate a very cold rough winter ahead and all I can think is "do I have enough yarn and fabric?" :) Enjoy your weekend!

  4. A beautiful post, so many nice things, love the knitted baubles in all their glory.

  5. I don't mind November, its great snuggling up in front of the fire to sit and crochet and feel relaxed.

  6. The pictures are beautiful representations of a cool November, definitely more "yeses" there. Off to look at that St. martin's Day lantern pattern.

  7. I think you r November is looking quite wonderful.

  8. Je vois que le mois de Novembre n'est pas si gris que ça pour toi ! et c'est tant mieux !! Beau travail les petites boules de Noël ..... Bon week end ! A bientôt

  9. Dear Mrs T
    A celebration of all things November-ish and what a lovely celebration!
    Best wishes

  10. Too spooky, I was going to do a post on this poem. I have the book sat beside me with now it in ready to write up after I finish blogging!!! xx

  11. You see, this is why I love photographing the minutiae of life - the pictures are evidence of moments we might otherwise forget. My mental November is probably more like the poem, but your evidence reminds me of the good bits too.

  12. My mother laments the start of November (too gloomy and too many deaths in past Novembers) whereas I positively embrace November. I love the grey days and fog and smells of damp earth and leaves that contrast with the bright lights at windows and log fires. I suspect that having a November birthday slightly colours my judgement, but looking at your beautiful photos, I feel my love of November completely justified. Not sure about your description of the poem as "slightly" gloomy! Seems depressingly gloomy to me.

  13. Gorgeous pictures. I think we've had more than our fair share of wind and rain this November and we're only half way through. My 86 year old father quotes the first few lines of this poem every year; he learnt it at school many years ago!

  14. Just read this. (I am finally catching up on my blog reading. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so I have a few days off from work.) Your photo essay is beautiful. Fall is my favorite season; I even relish gloomy fall days--if I can stay in--cooking, knitting, etc. It's also time to pull out my hand-knitted garments. I hadn't heard this poem before--I need to share it with my students.

  15. Hello Elizabeth, what a beautiful post about November. I do not like that month, really I don't. And as my whole family has been ill, this year November lives up to his bad reputation. But your photos are beautiful and I am willing to accept that November is not bad every year and not for everyone. Hope you stay well, Viola


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me at Mrs TT's and comment. I love to read what you write.