November’s Song

Kindle old flames, until it's bonfire night.

Kindle old flames, until it’s bonfire night.

Our Girton College Poetry Group recently set the theme of fire, the form of the Pantoum and the phrase ‘November Song’ as starting points for a poem. We all write to the theme and read the poems anonymously and with free and open critique. We had a wonderful session doing just that last night, but as it’s bonfire night tonight I thought I’d post my own effort here. The Pantoum is an intricate form which involves repeated lines and is therefore particularly helpful for poems which deal with issues of memory, repetition, and renewal, very much the themes of November which begins with All Saints and All Souls and moves on through bonfire night to Remembrance Day. Naturally these collective rites of remembrance also evoke personal and intimate memories, especially those of longing, loss, and bereavement, but it is good to have a season when these things find their voice and sing their own song, however melancholy its undertone or minor its key.

As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button

November’s Song

 

November sings its song with tongues of fire,

From the first flame of candles for the dead,

To the last embers of an old desire,

Shifting to ashen grey from glowing red.

 

From the first flame of candles for the dead,

A mass for All Souls held against the dark,

Shifting to ashen grey from glowing red,

Till dust and ashes smother every spark.

 

A mass for All Souls held against the dark,

Kindles an old flame till it’s bonfire night,

Till dust and ashes smother every spark,

And faces, strangely changed in firelight,

 

Kindle old flames, until it’s bonfire night.

Then comes the shadow of Remembrance Day,

For faces strangely changed in firelight

Are ashes now, or lowered in the clay.

 

Out of the shadow of Remembrance Day,

Out of the embers of an old desire,

Out of these ashes and this silent clay,

November sings its song with tongues of fire.

 

3 Comments

Filed under Girton, Poems

3 responses to “November’s Song

  1. Pingback: November’s Song | oshriradhekrishnabole

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