Robert Frost: My November Guest

In 1912 the American poet Robert Frost left the USA for England. In London he met many contemporary poets including Edward Thomas, T.E. Hulme and Ezra Pound, and it was there that his career began to flourish after the publication of his first two volumes of poetry.

Frost (1874-1963) is known for his realistic and unsentimental depictions of rural life and his penchant for American colloquial speech. His work frequently depicts rural manners in New England in the early 20th century, exploring social and philosophical themes. In 1924, he won the first of four Pulitzer Prizes for the book New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes. He would win additional Pulitzer Prizes for Collected Poems in 1931, A Further Range in 1937, and A Witness Tree in 1943.

After a long life, Frost was buried at the Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington, Vermont. His epitaph quotes the last line from one of his poems: “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.” The following poem, “My November Guest”, comes from his first published collection of poems A Boy’s Will (1913).

“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 walked 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 gray
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.”

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