November, Late in the Day

By John M. Ridland b. 1933
So this is aging: the bare sun, skinned,
palely bucking the dark wind,
slides through the glass, crawls on the carpet,
climbs the footboard, lies crosswise on the blanket,
a spoiled dog waiting to be fed.

Not now, dear warmth. The kindling’s in the shed,
too far to fetch. Those two great logs that close
together to make fire, repose
apart, an old couple reminiscing
on conflagrations they’re now missing:
how every sunny Saturday afternoon,
Hey, diddle-diddle, the dish ran away with the spoon.

Not yet, dear spoon. Some hotter day, dear dish.
No tidbits now. Instead, let’s make a wish,
and boil fresh water for the small teapot
to keep it piping hot.

Source: Poetry (February 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2011


John Ridland was born in London and grew up in California. He earned his PhD from Claremont Graduate School and has published numerous books and chapbooks, including Odes on Violence (1969), In the Shadowless Light (1978), Palms: Six ballads (1993), Poems of the American West (2002), A Brahms Card Ballad (2007), Happy in an Ordinary Thing (2013), and A. Lincolniad: An epic poem honoring the memory of President Abraham Lincoln . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by John M. Ridland

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.