The poem, “My November Guest” is taken from A Boy’s Will, the first published volumes of Frost’s poetry (1913). This is among the best of Robert Frost’s poems where he speaks of Autumn.
The poet at some point of time must have experienced extreme pain and sorrow in the month of November. Sorrow, which is ephemeral in human life is considered as “a guest” in the poem. The name of the poem, “My November Guest” itself signifies, the poet had a guest in any November month of his life and the name of the guest is Sorrow. It should be noted that the poem is a paradoxical coexistence of joy and sorrow, and acts as a reflection of the poet’s life! He must have (ultimately) realized joy in the sorrowful days of November, and thus, this poem evolved! The poem is a true homage to the expressive style of poetry.
The poem commences, and yes, the readers can feel the warmth of the expressions. Sorrow is personified as a woman and someone whom the poet dearly loves. In the very first line, “My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,” marks the peak of the poet’s togetherness with sorrow. ‘My’ and ‘me’ together been used in the same sentence is but just a reflection of poet’s sentiments for Sorrow ( the togetherness).
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
Walking with the poet, she ( Sorrow) speaks of the beautiful Autumn days, finds ecstasy in the withered trees, and the autumnal browns! Autumn is a season marked with desolate earth, deserted trees, the sodden pasture lane and the departure of the birds. The poet’s Sorrow finds beauty in the Autumn days. She complains the poet for not been able to experience the joy in Autumn and asks for an explanation. The phrase “Simple worsted grey is silver now with climbing mist” reflects the mood of the poem, the coexistence of joy and sorrow.
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise
In the concluding stanza the poet humorously speaks his mind. It was only yesterday that he learned to fall in love with the November days. The poet’s present love for November is more than Sorrow. Mark the words, “….they are better for her praise.” This is an expressive irony or can be considered as a humor.
The poem is lucid, characterized by a tone which is musical. The poem expresses the poet’s love for November days in an extremely critical manner. The poet seems to happily embrace the November Guest (Sorrow) and seems to enjoy her company bycalling her as dear! The pictorial description in the poem is vivid and rich.