This is a Letter to November

This is a Letter
This is a letter to the worm-threaded earth.

This is a letter to November, its gray bowl of sky riven by black-branched trees.
A letter to split-tomato skins, overripe apples, & a flock of fruit flies lifting
      from the blueing clementines’ wood crate.
To the broken confetti of late fall leaves.
This is a letter to rosemary.

This is a letter to the floor’s sink & creak, the bedroom door’s torn hinge
      moaning its good-night.
This is to the unshaven cheek.
To cedar, mothballs, camphor, & last winter’s unwashed wool.
This is a letter to the rediscovered,

to mulch, pine needles, the moon, frost, flats of pansies, the backyard,
      hunger, night, the unseen.
This is a letter to soil, thrumming as it waits to be turned.
This is a letter to compost, eggshell’s bone-ash chips, fruit rinds curved like
      fingernails, & stale chunks of bread.
A letter to the intimate dark—mouth-warm & damp as a bed.

This is a letter to the planet’s scavenging lips.

— Rebecca Dunham

It's the start of a new season, with shifts in air and time and tone.

Each autumn I return with delight to this rich and visual poem by Rebecca Dunham. I often use this poem as a prompt for my own writing, and its skillful rhythm and repetition makes for a great piece to share with young writers. Together we write "letters" instead of poems, reducing the inherent pressure of poem crafting. And — surprise! — those letters often result in striking pieces.

Do you have a favorite poem that marks this season?