It’s been 45 years since I was in elementary school, but there’s one thing that probably hasn’t changed in the meantime. I’m sure that children still procrastinate on their homework projects and come to their parents for help at the last minute. Such was the case for me one November long ago, when I was in Grade 3 or 4. I was supposed to prepare a book of six poems about November and I went to Mom in a panic the night before it was due. Where the heck was I going to find six poems about November? (There was no internet back then to save my bacon!)
By the time I appealed to Mom for help, I had found only one relevant poem – “Armistice Day” by H J Trifts. As always, Mom came to my rescue and so it was that four of my six poems were written by “Anonymous”. Today, nearly 50 years later, the identity of this gifted poet is finally revealed.
At the time I was in absolute awe that Mom could just sit down at the dining room table and write out four poems. I was so inspired that I wrote the sixth poem myself! (I’ll show you that one in a future post.) In the meantime, if you’d like to see the orignal versions of any of Mom’s poems, complete with my elementary school artwork, click on the poem’s title.
As I read Mom’s poems again today, I am still in awe. I find the last one, in honour of Remembrance Day, particularly moving and, sadly, as relevant in 2012 as it was in 1965. I hope you enjoy all of them as much as I have.
And Mom – as I’m sure I never thought to say it at the time – THANK-YOU!
The wind that nips my fingers when I go out to play,
and blows the leaves before me as I ramble on my way,
The many crystal snowdrops that mingle with the rain,
And the grey skies up above me mean, November’s here again.
The beauty that is autumn
With leaves of red and gold,
Deserts us as November
Turns the world so grey and cold.
But soon the barren forests
Will wear a silver crown,
As the first fine snow of winter,
Lays her soft white blanket down.
The cold November wind swirls the dead dry leaves around,
and the cold November evenings leave a frost upon the ground.
But nestled in the earth, safe from winter’s snow,
The seeds and bulbs lie sleeping to wake up in spring and grow.
The grey November skies
look down on poppies red,
That mark the graves in Flanders
where our soldiers left their dead.
But riot, war and hunger
plague the world they died to gain.
And it makes us stop and wonder
if our loved ones died in vain.
All poems © Bernice Yeomans, 1965