The worst part of November is the
no. Implacable – as in no more light
or at least a different slant of it
appearing briefly from behind massive
bruised blue thunder heads
possibly laden with snow
hanging along the horizon
heavy, like over-ripe fruit that some
farmer let go to seed. The worst part
is November’s surgical edge that blows
against us late afternoon, cutting through
coats and jackets suddenly no longer
warm enough. The worst part is the utter
solemnity of it all – summer’s distant memory
fading into early winter twilights
devoid of sentimentality, the no
in the face of desire with a clear
1:48 a.m., restive sleep
as we ride another year’s autumnal wind
through the thousand maple leaves
in my front yard, like fingers through
so much old paper, and I think
was there ever a time
these serene blond birds and I
shared anything in common?
Besides of course the birthing and the dying
and the struggling in between.
In my mind, I watch them maintain
their symmetrical V-formations
high above my house, pushing compulsively
south, their shrill staccato honking
an exotic fellowship
across an ocean of cold night air.
Paintings by Michael Strauss
TOP: "November," Acrylic and Ink, 11 x 14”
BOTTOM: "Canadian Geese Over Lake Champlain," Watercolor and Ink, 11 x 14”
Poems by Tony Magistrale
About the artist: Michael Strauss is an Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at UVM, and teaches art in the Honors College, the College of Arts and Sciences, for the OSHER Life Long Learning Program, and at galleries and other institutions around Vermont. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries and other venues in Vermont. For a more extensive view of Strauss’s paintings and books visit his website at http://www.mjstrauss.com.
About the poet: Tony Magistrale is professor of English at the University of Vermont. His most recent book of poetry is DIALOGUES AMONG LOST TOURISTS, to be published in the fall by Finishing Line Press. Mike Strauss painted the cover art for the volume.