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November, Late in the Day

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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)

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

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November, Late in the Day

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  • 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 (2014), among many others. With his wife Muriel he wrote And Say What He Is: The Life of a Special Child Together (1975).
     
    Ridland is also a translator and has published translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as well as many works of the Hungarian poets Sándor Márai and Miklós Radnóti. Ridland published a verse translation of the Hungarian folk epic John the Valiant (Corvina Press, Budapest, 1999). In 2010, Ridland was recognized with the Balassi Sword...

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