Like Trees in November #poetry #dVerse

“They seem sad,” he said
“like trees in November,
like early snowfall
upon Wetherlam:

“Bent in the wind they are,
limbs taut and twisted
wiry and strong,
how they bend but never break.

“Are they inspired by the fire
on the hillside, where the bracken died
to bronze, lit into copper
just where the sun hits?

“Are they enlivened by the crimson combe-heart
to which they soon hope to descend
before the cloud does?”
Even here, unwary climbers sometimes lose their way.

How bright the contrast:
the crimson and the grey
the hillside and the valley as
summer’s night shifts into winter’s day.

Back at the inn, their sadness evaporates
like steaming sweat from off their socks
which they warm by the fire
despite the protests of those gathered round this spot.

Never underestimate the power of contrasts:
we need to face the wild and isolation,
the Novembers of our life,
the nights of cold and days of climbing strife

to more appreciate the birth of spring’s renewal
the scorching heat of summer
trees in November turned once more
to emerald green, resplendent, fruiting ripe.

© All Rights Reserved.

Written for dVerse

Tonight, Sarah hosts Poetics, with an ekphrastic prompt inspired by the art of Fay Collins, who sadly died in September of this year. Fay wrote these words about her own work:

 I have had a rich journey through places that are full of contrasting states: wild and cultivated, arid and verdant, rugged and fragile, ever-changing and apparently constant. The particular quality of light and space in the North West of the UK particularly, draws me in to explore the diverse, visual aspects of geology, meteorology and botany.  I marvel at the energy, abundance and diversity of life’s forces and I am continuously intrigued by the idea that visual qualities of landscape often appear timeless and constant yet are often tangibly dynamic. Light conditions due to our ever-changing weather emphasises a ‘Romantic’ feel in some of my work (so I’ve been told) and I like to think that that my paintings evoke a poetic sense of connection with the natural world. 

As I’m from the North West of England myself, I found that I immediately connected with the spirit of her landscapes. I chose to write a poem inspired by the painting ‘3 trees at Coniston,’ partly because I was drawn to the contrasts, and also because I recognised the landscape and felt at home in it. Wetherlam is one of the Coniston fells, and I think it is the one pictured with snow in the painting.

The title of the poem is a chapter title in the book Watership Down by Richard Adams.

Also sharing with earthweal’s Open Link Weekend #94.

81 thoughts on “Like Trees in November #poetry #dVerse

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  1. This is absolutely stunning! I especially love the question; “Are they enlivened by the crimson combe-heart to which they soon hope to descend before the cloud does?” 💝💝

  2. Ingrid,
    I love the opening voice of the speaker, his questioning as to what it is that sends the hikers bent against the wind into the rough. Your answering narrative is a nice concluding touch to the cyclical nature of loss and renewal.

  3. Nothing like familiarity with the North of England to inspire your incredibly eloquent poem. You paint such a clear picture with words, we would have imagined Fay’s painting without seeing it. Marvelous work!

  4. There is a great sense of Reality, as well as Realism in this poetry, and reading that you are from the area helps explain that, though of course there is more to it: one is transported to the land of your poem and the painting though the jntricate narrative that takes you there, questioning each step. This helps give the central premise of rebirth and regeneration more effect. You caught the colours and moods in your words, and transported us to spring in a lovely end. Well done

  5. Thanks for guiding us along the rugged landscape in your poem…a wonder-full write of the land and tribute to the artist’s work, Ingrid!

  6. I liked the strength of the trees in your poem and the hope of Spring for all of us…. As the sun shines on those twisted trees, it is from within each one that the emerald green emerges!

  7. This landscape does indeed invite a warm fire surrounded by friends. And yet you’ve captured the stark beauty as well, and the way both complement each other. (K)

  8. i love the vivid descriptions here, Ingrid. and the clarion call of these lines:
    we need to face the wild and isolation,
    the Novembers of our life,
    the nights of cold and days of climbing strife

  9. This is an absolute gem of a poem, Ingrid! Your strong connection to the spirit of Fay Collins’ work is evident. Wonderful job with metaphor, symbolism, the dialogue and I love how you bring the reader to the inn next to a warm fire and sweaty socks. That imagery immediately took me back to sweaty but sweet memories of kids playing and asking questions. The best questions!

      1. Good plan. It is intense and tbh, I am not sure how healthy it is to push our bodies to those extremes. I am glad I tried it a few times, but doubt I will take another class like that.

  10. I love how you were inspired by the painting and your own knowledge of the area. You’ve captured the beauty and the starkness, and even the little details of socks drying in front of the fire. 😀

  11. We need the contrasts because there is life and there is death and we exist with both. Need both, too, though our conscious brains cling to living and sweetness and love. Those naked tree branches look all a-wither but are truly the shape of summer fullness. Nicely done and a great treatment of the image.

  12. Beautiful painting. You are right…we do need the contrasts to fully appreciate the light and joy after a time in the dark. Eloquent and well expressed poem

  13. What a splendid poem Ingrid.

    “we need to face the wild and isolation,
    the Novembers of our life,
    the nights of cold and days of climbing strife

    to more appreciate the birth of spring’s renewal”


  14. I love this poem. I heard that due to climatic change trees are suffering when they do not lose their leaves in winter. It shows how we need the cold winter a time of quiet and stillness to renew our growth in spring. Beautiful prose and description in your poem.

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