Tuesday, November 10, 2015


November Morning

Edmund Blunden (1896-1974), "November Morning," The Shepherd and Other Poems of Peace and War (London: R. Cobden-Sanderson, 1922), p. 23 (line numbers added):
From the night storm sad wakes the winter day
With sobbings round the yew, and far-off surge
Of broadcast rain; the old house cries dismay,
And rising floods gleam silver on the verge
Of sackclothed skies and melancholy grounds.        5
On the black hop-pole slats the weazen bine,
The rooks with terror's tumult take their rounds,
Under the eaves the chattering sparrows pine.

Waked by the bald light from his bed of straw,
The beggar shudders out to steal and gnaw        10
Sheeps' locusts: leaves the last of many homes—
Where mouldered apples and black shoddy lie,
Hop-shovels spluttered, wickered flasks flung by,
And sharded pots and rusty curry combs.
My notes:
6 slats: flaps, beats (as intransitive verb)? (cf. OED, s.v. slat, v.2, sense 3)
weazen: wizened, i.e. dried up, shrivelled
bine: "the climbing stem of the hop" (OED, sense 1.b)

11 sheeps' locusts: pods of the locust tree, used as fodder for sheep. Cf. Luke 15.16 (the prodigal son): And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat.

12 shoddy: coal? (OED, s.v. shoddy, n., sense 4.b)

13 spluttered: scattered

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