My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be; She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise



Robert Frost’s poem, “My November Guest,” is a poem that I had heard read many years ago at a poetry event. This is where I met my best friend Dawn Johnson. Dawn was a fan of Robert Frost; I on the other hand, knew nothing about Robert Frost. After hearing this poem recited by a local poetic artist, I had decided to read it for myself. After reading this poem, I assumed that Robert Frost was writing about a relationship between a man and woman that was about to end in a sorrowful way in the month of November. While reading this poem, I had discovered that Robert Frost used nature as a symbol to describe the outside climate in which he wrote: “the dark autumn rain, withered trees, and sodden pasture lanes.” I thought that this was the reason that he had used the month of November as a transition for the ending of the fall season and preparation of winter. Perhaps it is during this period that the male lover described his pain and misery of not being able to let go of his girlfriend. In return, his girlfriend tried to get him to see that it is over between the two of them and that it was time for them to both move on and go their separate ways. During my research on Robert Frost, I came across an interesting video clip called “My November Guest” by Robert Frost (read by Tom O’Bedlam).  

 I also found a video on YouTube that alluded to the poem as being about a couple in a relationship; it is called: My November Guest – Short Film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-CA 9KYSxqE  

After I previewed this video, I still had in my mind that Robert Frost was definitely talking about a couple being in a painful relationship.

But as I began to read the poem over again, I literally changed my mind. The first line began to speak volumes to me. It says, “My sorrow, when she is here with me”. So the word “sorrow” is really not a woman; I believe that it is a metaphor that represents a woman. I also noticed that Frost used the word “sorrow” throughout his poem for the readers to gradually understand that some people are unhappy during the winter months, in which people tend to get depressed, moody, and sad. I do believe that Robert Frost explained this concept in the poem “My November Guest” in which the month of November is the guest that will no longer be there once the uninvited guest of winter takes over.

As I reread his poem for the second time around, another poem popped into my head called “Sorry”. It was written by Ntozake Shange in which Janet Jackson recited it in the movie called “For Colored Girls”:


one thing i don’t need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i don’t know what to do wit em
they dont open doors
or bring the sun back
they dont make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didnt nobody stop usin my tears to wash cars
cuz a sorry


i am simply tired
of collectin
i didnt know
i was so important toyou
i’m gonna haveta throw some away
i cant get to the clothes in my closet
for alla the sorries
i’m gonna tack a sign to my door
leave a message by the phone
‘if you called
to say yr sorry
call somebody

i dont use em anymore’
i let sorry/ didnt meanta/ & how cd i know abt that
take a walk down a dark & musty street in brooklyn
i’m gonna do exactly what i want to
& i wont be sorry for none of it
letta sorry soothe yr soul/ i’m gonna soothe mine

you were always inconsistent
doin somethin & then bein sorry
beatin my heart to death
talkin bout you sorry
i will not call
i’m not goin to be nice
i will raise my voice
& scream & holler
& break things & race the engine
& tell all yr secrets bout yrself to yr face
& i will list in detail everyone of my wonderful lovers
& their ways
i will play oliver lake
& i wont be sorry for none of it

i loved you on purpose
i was open on purpose
i still crave vulnerability & close talk
& i’m not even sorry bout you bein sorry
you can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna
just dont give it to me
i cant use another sorry
next time
you should admit
you’re mean/ low-down/ triflin/ & no count straight out
steada bein sorry alla the time
enjoy bein yrself

http://www.afropoets.net/ntozakeshange6.html >

In Robert Frost’s poem, “November’s Guest,” the term “sorrow” is a term in which many people can relate to the poem with understanding. I can remember how my best friend Dawn  loved this poem. In 2010, Dawn committed suicide.  She always complained about the winter months and how she hated them because they made her feel so depressed and lonely. Dawn called it a winter of despair. She never made it to see 2011. She always said that “sorrow” was all she had dealt with her whole life.





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