Poem for the Day: November 1st, 2021

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,
memorizing

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!


November 1981

© 2012 Rita Dove. Today’s poem appeared in the June 2012 issue of Poetry. Among numerous other awards and accolades, Dove won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her collection Thomas and Beulah. She was named US poet laureate in 1993, which at the age of 40 made her the youngest person to ever hold that position. She is currently the Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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