November: No Man’s Month

In the northern hemisphere, November has long been a melancholy month—even before services of remembrance or stories from No Man’s Land. That phrase has always resonated with me; that’s why I wrote this short poem.

November: No Man’s Month
Fields ploughed, but not yet sown—
Except by pearls in spider webs
Or frost on tarnished stubble (scythèd sheer to
Earth’s crude clay).

Trees void, but still no snow–
Except where snowberries grow close to birches (flashing silver),
Or ash-trees (sprinkling grey among
Dark elm trunks).

Advent:
Christ promised, but not yet come—
Neither among the stubble stalks and razor wire of battlefields
Nor under cross-shaped stars
Nor to the lap of waiting Mary;
But only in the myrrh and frankincense of human lives.

© Lizzie Ballagher

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