A November Morning, 1883

She walked the lane alone
but not lonely in her solitude.
Sun deserting the sky above,
unforgiving stone beneath her feet.
Cold seeped into her bones.
Barren trees stood starkly,
as if joining in her grief.
This day she walked
to the burial ground,
basket of pinecones in hand.
She would spread them on his grave,
autumnal offering for her sin.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Today we’re working with ekphrastic poetry: poems written about works of art. Merril asks us to choose from several paintings she provides, and write a poem inspired by one of them. I’ve selected the painting, A November Morning (1883) by John Atkinson Grimshaw. I’ve taken the liberty of borrowing his title for my title as well.

25 thoughts on “A November Morning, 1883

  1. merrildsmith November 29, 2022 / 3:38 pm

    Ooooo! This is a mystery. I want to know more, Lillian. I think this could be the opening of a story. 🙂

    I love:
    “Barren trees stood starkly,
    as if joining in her grief.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 1, 2022 / 4:22 pm

      Thanks, Merril. I found the photo mysterious and then pen just followed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • merrildsmith December 2, 2022 / 7:50 am

        You’re welcome. I’m so pleased it did!

        Like

  2. The Cheesesellers Wife November 29, 2022 / 3:47 pm

    I chose this painting too – and also thought the figure was sad and bereft, although for a very different reason. I love your take on the painting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 1, 2022 / 4:23 pm

      Thank you! I”ll get to the reading of other posts tomorrow, including yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kim881 November 29, 2022 / 4:07 pm

    Another case of great minds think alike, Lill! I’m not surprised so many of us chose this painting, it is so good. As is your poem, which makes me feel for the woman.

    Like

    • lillian December 1, 2022 / 4:23 pm

      Thank you, Kim. I shall get to the reading of posts tomorrow….yes. I was smitten by this painting….we often operate on similar planes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rob Kistner November 29, 2022 / 8:05 pm

    “Barren trees stood starkly, as if joining in her grief.” Beautifully sad piece Lil, splendidly expressed my friend. I chose same excellent image.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 1, 2022 / 4:24 pm

      I think a lot of us chose this image. I was entranced by it…thought it a bit sad and mysterious…and then the pen just went with it. I’ll be back tomorrow to read other posts for it. Look forward to reading yours!

      Like

  5. Jane Dougherty November 30, 2022 / 5:30 am

    Is that a tradition, putting pine cones on a child’s grave? It sounds pagan. I wonder what it means.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 1, 2022 / 4:25 pm

      I just made it up! Thought she had to carry something in her basket and the pen just went here.

      Like

      • Jane Dougherty December 1, 2022 / 4:42 pm

        It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there weren’t symbols attached to pine cones. They’re funny things.

        Like

  6. mentalnotes1 November 30, 2022 / 6:56 pm

    “She would spread them on his grave,
    autumnal offering for her sin.” What is the sin? Tell me more, this was excellent! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 1, 2022 / 4:45 pm

      Hah! I don’t even know what the sin was….it’s a mystery! My pen just went there and left me hanging 🙂

      Like

  7. SelmaMartin December 1, 2022 / 3:52 am

    surely, assuredly…
    “She would spread them on his grave,
    autumnal offering for her sin”
    … with lines ending like this, one wants to know more/keep reading. You’ve offered just enough loveliness to pique and surely enjoy the words on the page. Thanks. Great choice of photo– though they’re all lovely. Blessings. Happy new month.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. sanaarizvi December 1, 2022 / 12:05 pm

    I love the poignancy with which this poem is penned, Lillian! Especially this image; “Barren trees stood starkly, as if joining in her grief.” ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. paeansunplugged December 2, 2022 / 3:26 am

    Oh, that last line, Lill! I love how you focus on the lonely figure. Beautiful take.

    Like

  10. msjadeli December 2, 2022 / 3:21 pm

    Beautiful atmospheric piece with a nice twist at the end. Makes me want to know more about her and the person buried at the cemetery.

    Like

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