My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grady
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so ryly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell he so,
And they are better for her praise.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem My November Guest

18 Comments

  1. Poetry Lover says:

    Please, please correct the spelling in this poem. For crying out loud, you are (unfortunately) the first site that pops up when searching this lovely poem. Learn English and copy your poetry correctly!

    (It is “worsted grey,” not “worsted grady!”)

  2. CAROLINE GLEN says:

    I feel the poems relates to his wife. The wording/meanings are straight-forward but the first line, last verse bugs me. Why does he say ‘Not yesterday I learned to know’? Can someone enlighten me? Also ‘were’ should be ‘was’ shouldn’t it?! carolineglen.com

  3. Mercedes says:

    the first time i read the poem, all i could think about was what he used to set a mood. Usually, when an author uses sentences like “faded earth, heavy sky,” it is to set a gloomy mood in which he succeeds. I thought it was about a woman who was changing his life, and broadening his view of the world. But then I read it again and again, and i think that the poem really has to do with him, and only him. He can choose to dislike and begrudge change, gloominess, and desolation. But he doesnt- he learns to embrace it and realize that theres something meaningful in every detail. He can’t deny his sorrow, but he doesn’t succumb to it, he uses it to change his views on the world. It can be interpreted many ways though- and i think the way that people see it is what tells more about them, which i think poets are always trying to tell their readers.

  4. Chris Coughlin says:

    Fiona Cameron noted two transcription mistakes. There is another, The next to the last line should read, :|”But it were vain to tell her so,” not “he so”. If you are going to post poetry, make certain to quote it accurately, or don’t post it.

  5. Danny says:

    When i hear this poem it reminds me of the loves i have lost and the loves i have had and the loves that are still to come….

  6. Steve M says:

    I took this poem to mean that you have to fight the urge to give in to the depression, but after my father read it to me, and i listened to what he thought. i now believe that the whole message of the poem is that the fact is that fall is the winding down season. It is the season of less day-light and little outdoor activities (in general). It can feel quite lonely and depressing just to look outside, but you have to realize that everyone is feeling similar to you. Instead of denying that you are depressed and slowly succumbing to it without realizing and have it become part of you, you should just realize that it happens every year, stick it out, and it will be over in a couple months.

  7. G.Kats says:

    I believe that in this poem Frost is speaking of his wife. It was written after they moved back to the United States from England and after thier son committed suicied as well as after thier eldest daughter having to be commited to a hospital for the mentaly insane. Both Frost and his wife had been through a lot and still they held thier family togeather. Frost commited many that the most important things to him were his family first and then his writing. his wife was in his words his inspiration.

  8. Jess Cerqueira says:

    This is one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost, or anybody, for that matter. I think it speaks of a depression not only one might feel at the close of a year/ season, but of our life as well. It definitely alludes to what I’ve interpreted as suicide. It seems vaguely optimistic, though, in the the end:
    “…but they are better for her praise.”
    Perhaps Frost is refering to that when we’ve gone through depression, we begin to appreciate certain things. I dunno…I just love it.

  9. Ryan Goh says:

    The first line of the poem starts with “My Sorrow.” This part may be interpreted in many different ways. The first way to see it may be as an uninvited guest, someone who he loathes to see. This person, most likely a girl, is the cause of all his troubles. His life is fine and smooth until she comes along. When he sees the girl, he feels that she is like autumn, desolate and bare. It starts with “ My sorrow,” which can mean that it is the girl. It is obvious that the girl has much different taste from him. Everything the girl likes he dislikes. Like the “ she is glad that the birds are gone,” suggests her personality. She sees beauty in the desolateness, which the narrator disagrees with. She obviously has different tastes from him, and he is constantly trying to argue with her. Maybe someone from his childhood, when they were younger. A friend, but a person with an entirely different viewpoint from him. Thus, this kind of debates he loves.

    He can be just talking about a nuisance. When autumn comes, he engages with her a debate. About what beauty is, which of the seasons have the most beauty in it. Autumn is where everything is bare. So there is a certain neatness and sadness in it. This sadness can be translated into a piece of art. Of course, the narrator prefers it to be bright and colorful, like summer. They may be attached, and thus this debate always ensures. No matter what he does, he realizes that he cannot appreciate autumn to the same extent as the girl. Even he himself acknowledges that. In the end, he grudgingly says that he is starting to see from her perspective, however, he himself can never fully appreciate the beauty in desolation.

    The first It is a complex story about two complex people. After she died, Frost said that she was the unspoken half of everything he ever wrote. They were married for 40 years. He told his children that most of his poems were written to her – he dedicated all his early books (until her death in 1938) to her. Think of all the different meanings of “My Sorrow” – her sorrow is his sorrow, he possesses her grief, and he is the cause of her grief, that she is a sorrow to him. (I do not think the later was the case)

    Subject Matter: Its about his memories. This poem, like all the others, is dedicated to his wife. Thus, the subject matter is obviously about her. The word “she” is repeated 7 times in the poem, which shows his affection for her. In addition, he seems to be learning from her, like he finally sees things her way.

    Imagery: In the poem, the poet uses many metaphors to describe his sorrows. He uses figurative languages to help us visualize the picture he writes.

  10. md hanafiah says:

    in my point of views, this poem is about the sorrows that persona feels. his life is conquered by his sorrow which seems to be very pleased and at the same affect the persona. the “sorrow” that he feels get along with the withered tree which appears to carry negative connotation.the persona find that the he is losing to his sorrow.

  11. argp says:

    This poem uses a lot of figurative language. The author makes it easy for us to visualize everything that is happening in the poem

  12. Filo the Great says:

    That is a beautiful poem by Frost. I like the way that Frost uses metaphors for the way his sorrow is.

  13. Fiona Cameron says:

    This is a beautiful poem that deserves to be transcripted accurately which this version is not. It is a “worsted” gray which I think is a kind of material. And it is a beauty she “truely sees” she does not “wryly” see it.

  14. Eululie Astaire says:

    My favorite Frost poem. I took it 100% literal, with no symbolism. Basically because I felt as the author felt, the season in all it’s “bleakness” is actually comforting.

  15. Double j says:

    This poem is great i never read it but man is it great this relates to life in different ways i love this poem

  16. Rao says:

    Lovely poem; even the desolute winter has its charm and a place in scheme of things of nature. I remember to have read somewhere: “Envy and fear are the only passions to which no pleasure is attached”; everything else has; why not winter!

  17. Colleen Winston, OSB says:

    I used a quote from this poem to conclude a column about grief / loss. I had opened the column with Eliot’s quote about April being the cruelest month; I then wrote about November, 2004, and the losses I experienced. I concluded the column with the Frost quote and a comment.

    “‘My sorrow, when she’s here with me,/thinks these dark days of autumn rain/are beautiful as days can be;/she loves the bare, the withered tree;/she walks the sodden pasture lane.’ May each of us be able to see the beauty and comfort of the Novembers in our lives, and may the upcoming season of Advent give each of us the space and time to allow that which is lying fallow within us to spring forth with new life.”

  18. Tom Faris says:

    I believe that in this poem Frost uses descriptions of nature and personification to evoke the bittersweet beauty of depression. “My Sorrow, when she’s here with me…”

    Perhaps I read too much into it, but the line “Her pleasure will not let me stay” could allude to thoughts of suicide. But Frost declines and finds beauty and art in these emotions.

    A truly lovely, evocative poem.

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