Monday, November 21, 2011

Nightfall, Another November

By Joseph Hesch

I stepped outside at 5:00 and another November struck me
like a black bolt of ash -- the darkness of early sundown,
the steely chill of snow-threatening clouds,
and a near-deafening din that drowned out the wind.
The colors of October long ago disappeared, 
fallen to the ankles of once brightly outfitted trees
that stood as beacons for weekend leaf peepers.

They now reached skyward in scraggly stick-'em-up 
posture, robbed of their raiment
by frost and frigid currents. Shivering sentinels, 
the skeleton maples, hickories and oaks,
found their bony limbs decorated by hundreds of 
nattering neighbors in jet, keeping with
the dark end of the month’s gray-scale color scheme.

Advent ornaments, lit by sundown, shiny and black,
adorned the branches. Ebony leaves full of cawing cacophony. 
At dawn, these gravity-defying decorations disappear,
falling up and away, shed in an anti-autumn explosion
of feathers, noise, and bad intent,
onyx scavengers crowing their ascendancy
over a napping Nature.

And I feel the bones of another of my years
about to be picked clean.

As I walked from my office to the parking lot the other night, I heard the racket from hundreds of crows festooning the trees surrounding the campus where I work. They are a foul nuisance, but one heck of an inspiration...if I'm mindful enough to use them. They stirred up "Nightfall, Another November."  Linking this poem up to dVerse Poets Pub for its Open Link Night.


  1. wow. nice write joe...some really cool lines in your descriptions...and a near-deafening din that drowned out the wind....has a great sound..the gathered around ankles, stickem up arms...nice...the peepers, ha...but your close is where the heart is as well. nice write...

  2. I love your 'nature' poems, Joe. Your descriptions here are great 'like a black bolt of ash' ..'shed in an anti-autumn explosion
    of feathers, noise, and bad intent'...brilliant. You capture the starkness of the season so well. :)

  3. You turned dreary November beautiful. Love the last line.

  4. Oh my god those las two lines are killer!

  5. Really amazing word-painting here. I know the scene very well, and love the way you wrote this up. Some great, great images in these lines. Thanks

  6. I agree with Darkangelwrites those last 2 lines sting ! thanks for sharing x x

  7. nice how you stretched the bones theme throughout giving it a new face

  8. Excellent imagery. We only seem to get lone crows, or twos or threes at most around here, but I remember the crow-filled trees from my captured it well.

  9. bravo, Joe! the imagery is so vivid. Crows actually scare me.. I would've just walked a little faster to where ever I was going..

  10. loved everything but esp. the closing stanza...this is where you step from outside to inside and i feel you there..very nice..

  11. Joe, I love how you just wisp me away from the beginning line into this beautiful scene. Your imagery is something to be admired and it is a pleasure to read you again. Happy sharing!!!


  12. description of nightfall as a black bolt of ash, a great simile.
    description of the winter birds (I called them ''uh-ohs'' in one of my pieces LOL), cawing cacophony (sound) and onyx scavengers, all built images of ... of ... dare I say it? '' WINTER!
    methinks you love it as much as I.

    great moment piece, the threshold of cold.

  13. Advent ornaments... brilliant. Loved the imagery and the chill that you brought to this piece. Excellent work, Joe :)

  14. Riding back from Vermont on Sunday, I was noting how the wood smoke was sitting heavy in the little dips and valleys between the hills, and how the trees were standing like naked sentinels, lining and guarding the highway. Then I read your words and thought, wow, there is the phrasing I was looking for! Lol!!

    I especially liked the last two lines of this:
    "And I feel the bones of another of my years
    about to be picked clean."
    Chilling and perfect to go with the images of those little black scavengers!
    Thanks for sharing.

  15. Wow, that last line just hits you, "And I feel the bones of another of my years about to be picked clean." I could feel it, too. Glad you could find some use for those crows :)

  16. The days grow shorter and a murder of crows settles down around you. But take heart -- they only seem to go after roadkill, and it is clear from your poem that you are anything but that.

    We have a rainy season and a dry here, and the bright fall leaves are only now on the trees, but the crows pass overhead coming and going each morning and evening. I am puzzled by the old cliche "as the crow flies," though. I see them play and zigza and NEVER fly straight ahead. More laughter than tears, but everything is subjective, of course!

  17. What an inspiration...I love the images of shivering sentinels, advent ornaments and napping nature.

    Superb writing ~

  18. Vibrant black.. who would have thought it. There are some great contrasts and textures here Joe...much enjoyed the whole, but especially the stick em up tree limbs.. beaut.

  19. those last two lines, Joe-- ouch! :) but you describe the season so perfectly-- it's so visually arresting that i can feel the cold through the words...

  20. A tree of crows can give one the creeps
    for sure, but then so can a tree of starlings.
    Crows are worshiped by some, and cussed
    at by others, nature's tricksters, predators
    and scavengers, larger than you think, I have
    seen them bully sea gulls for a bit of crab.
    Some say crows have mina bird in them,
    that some can talk. So far none have called
    your name, or mine.

  21. This is phenomenal, Joe!

    I love this:

    "shed in an anti-autumn explosion
    of feathers, noise, and bad intent,
    onyx scavengers crowing their ascendancy
    over a napping Nature."

  22. I hate those things. You caught them at their worst, banded together making as though hell itself had opened up and belched those harbingers of death, or is it change? They indeed ring in the dead time of the year. Your last line sums it up well.

  23. this was a great visual write...those nasty crows did a great job of inspiring you! :)

  24. Joe what you can create such a magical place when you express the vision of our environment, this piece excels. Lovely prose my friend, all my best to you. ~ Rose