Poetry Friday: November Rain by Linda Pastan

Poetry Friday is hosted this Friday by Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones

A bleak and wet November day.  The big windows in the hospital waiting room, where I spent the first half of the day, looked onto a busy street.  Through the rain spattered windows, I could see umbrellas of all sizes and colors darting this way and that. The sight reminded me of my office window on Lexington Avenue many, many years ago.  I used to love to eat my lunch (usually bought from the food truck around the corner) sitting on the  sputtering old radiator, watching scenes just like this from 33 stories above.  It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed the wares of New York City food trucks, and even longer since I’ve worked in an office building, but looking out at umbrellas in today’s rain made those faraway memories very sweet indeed.

November Rain

How separate we are
under our black umbrellas—dark
planets in our own small orbits,

hiding from this wet assault
of weather as if water
would violate the skin,

as if these raised silk canopies
could protect us
from whatever is coming next—

December with its white
enamel surfaces; the numbing
silences of winter.

From above we must look
like a family of bats—
ribbed wings spread

against the rain,
swooping towards any
makeshift shelter.


15 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: November Rain by Linda Pastan

  1. This line is excellent: “From above we must look
    like a family of bats—” Thanks for posting this. We’ve been subjected to a second day of heavy drizzle. I hope it clears soon.

  2. I’ve seen many pictures, remember my Missouri rainy days, but it’s been a while. It’s so rare to see such a sight as many with an umbrella. The poem makes the mood for sure, and I enjoyed your introduction just as much, Tara.

  3. So fun the journey you took from that single image! Thanks for sharing your connections and now I’m thinking I’ll need to borrow your “sputtering old radiator” for a slice of my own some day soon. We rarely use umbrellas in Seattle, mostly because our rain is normally of the gentler version, but maybe because we’ve learned to embrace the rain.

    • My sister-in-law who lives in Seattle would agree with you about embracing the rain, but she was shocked by the harsh and heaviness of our rain in South Louisiana. Umbrellas do no good. You get soaked top to bottom and bottom to top.

  4. I’m not familiar with Linda Pastan’s poetry, but this poem struck a cord with me. I love the line:
    “as if water
    would violate the skin”
    So true! We are all so worried about a little water, when maybe we should embrace it. Thanks for sharing. =)

  5. “dark planets” “A family of bats” Love the imagery in this poem and how it captures that damp lonely feeling of a rainy day in November.

  6. Tara, your introduction was such a wonderful lead in to the poem that I enjoyed as well. There was such imagery in both and the word choice allowed for a deeper connection: rain spattered windows & December with its white enamel surfaces. While in Albany this week for a conference a rain-drenching storm occurred. Without an umbrella there was nothing more to do than embrace the rain.

  7. Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem, Tara. I especially love the opening stanza, thinking of us as “dark/planets in our own small orbits.” Not sure I like the idea of you spending half the day in a hospital waiting room, though. Hope everything’s okay.

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