09 November 2014



The Prose

November is perhaps the most moving month of the year, steeped in tradition and teeming with expectancy.  Why yearn for sunnier climes or a terracotta tan when November's seasonal pulchritude comes free of charge. Broad avenues, awash with colour and piled high with copper jewels: red-gold gems, cascading from majestic trees, making way for fresh creations of embryonic buds.

Natural beauty contrasts sharply with more morbid attractions. Searing bonfires concoct a vivid tableau. Orange flames triumphantly lick the feet of man-made guys, egged on by a jubilant audience gobbling sausages and baked potatoes. Historical, traditional, and macabre, as are the fireworks: pretty explosives noisily winging, gloriously beguiling.

Scarlet poppies adorning our attire signify remembrance for the soldiers who fought for liberation … the war dead, who gave us optimism. Yields of mistletoe and holly and sometimes early snow prompt thoughts of Christmas celebrations, of nativity, and gatherings of families and friends.
Thus, November is a month of diverse elements: breathtaking, poignant, and sad. But it is never dull and those who claim that it is should examine its true potential, and wrest a soup├žon of comfort from the depths of the sombre monotony that exists solely within their hearts.

This is November.    Enjoy.

November was the month, many years ago, when I was seriously burnt, and had the misfortune to be in hospital when victims of bonfire and firework ‘accidents’ were admitted. I felt obliged to write the following poem, at the same time incorporating other monstrous November scenes.

The Poem

Broad avenues awash with colour,
Red gold gems tumbling to the ground;
Evolution preparing fresh creation,
Embryonic buds already sound.

Beyond the mists stem glowing vistas.
Nature sighs in resignation,
No challenger for graphic scenes
Of morbid fascination.

Poppies, red and unembellished,
Symbols of commemoration
To men in bloody trenches; soldiers
Sacrificing lives to give us liberation.

Carousals of darting, searing fire,
Triumphant flames of orange hue,
Incited by beholders’ hearty cheers
To kiss the feet of guys, and maybe you.

Motley fireworks, spectacular and loud,
Spiralling in the darkening night,
Gripping young ones, riveting them to pain.
Inevitably their shocking plight.

Advance through crumbly autumn leaves
Amidst displays of deciduous attraction,
But heed the groans as flames descend
And human euphoria condones the action.


  1. I thought the poppy display at the tower of London was a beautiful display. veterans are remembered here in the US in November but not so much with poppies, although you will see an occasional paper one in some ones lapel.

  2. Valerie, I really like how you shared the contrasting views of both November and fire. This reminds me of the saying that fire can be either friend or foe, depending on our experience.

    Both your prose and poem are so well-written!

    Thank you for sharing them.

    X to you and Joe!

  3. Ron, how right you are - fire can be tw-fold. It can look pretty and warm and cosy but on the other hand it can be treacherous. Sad to say that looks are deceptive since fire can never be anything other than dangerous.

  4. BC, similar displays have been arranged through the UK... they are lovely and a credit to those who laid them. Poppies represent Flanders, of course.

  5. May I just say that I would like to frame your opening paragraph? As a Scorpio with a birthday coming up next Sunday I love November. But it has downsides here in the UK as you wisely discussed. Loved the poem, by the way.

    Greetings from London.

  6. You have a wonderful way to express feelings in words. It is an honest expression of a November you will never forget.

  7. Valerie, I agree with Ron's Interpretation of your poem, this is how I read it also.

    Well done my Friend, Well Done.

  8. Jimmy, I thank you. November means such a lot to me, some of it good, some bad, as well as survival.

  9. Larry, I'm glad you liked it. November will always raise memories for me, and I hope that by publishing this others might benefit. The main thing is to keep our children safe from the tongues of fire.

  10. Cuban, I wish you a very happy birthday on Sunday. I value your comment and hope all goes well for you, and everyone, this November.

  11. Terrific post, Valerie and really good poetry!!

  12. Valerie, you have a magnificent way with words, this was a marvelous read, and your poem just flowed.

  13. Hi, Valerie. I certainly agree that November is the most moving month. Whew, so much going on.
    So sorry that you had to experience such a difficult time years ago. The memories as well as all the other activities sure did activate creativity in you. Wonderful writing! I often don't quite understand poetry, however, in this post I do like and appreciate your talent.

  14. Indeed. I like it well. Except right no on 11/11/11 I'm look out my window at a blizzard and remembering when this was called Armistice Day here in the States...

  15. Hi Mary, experiences can lead to creativity. At least some good comes out of the bad times, I'm pleased to say.


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