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Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Poem for November

My poem November Roots appeared in Quarryman Five published April past. The literary journal of UCC is currently looking for submissions to issue Six.

November Roots had its origin in that Edna O'Brien quote "In a way winter is the real spring, the time when the inner things happen, the resurge of nature." When November arrives I also always think of Frost's My November Guest, "My sorrow, when she's here with me/ Thinks these dark days of autumn rain/Are beautiful as days can be..."

This is also a poem for anyone out stargazing.

Leaving the town, the church bell grown 
to a dull clang wrings out eleven o’clock.
Into mid-November I am walking,
a countryside grown sparse,
though in fact it is dying
and I wonder at what point
is the scales tipped
from one to the other?
How almost vernal the day
becomes in the height of the afternoon
sun stretching its greatest yawn
before setting, the night a shadow
gracing the day time land,
the white and pale blue sky,
marking the bare branches, so smooth
stripped outrageously for the buds of new year.

A silence has fallen on the woods,
the hunter’s gunshot resounds,
the pheasant is startled, the dog unsure.
The moon appears, a fat thumb print
and the stars a trail of breadcrumbs
to the deepest night, an all covering
canopy of midnight pricked with silver.
What if the whole of space
is a river of time and the stars
the sunlight bouncing off its ripples
and currents, dark water, deep space?
I feel closest then to my ancestors,
minutiae of the universe,
hypnotised, rooted to the spot, eyes gazing
upwards, entranced by the heavens
but a thing of gravity. My mantra:

I am of the earth, I am of the earth,
I am of the earth, I am of the earth…

Orla Fay

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