Thursday, November 13, 2014

"It Will Be Annabel November"
—a poem by Eli Siegel

A poem whose music I have loved since I first read it years ago is "It Will Be Annabel November." Now, in November 2014, I am looking at it freshly, and am moved by it again.

Eli Siegel said, in a note to this 1926 poem in his first collection Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems:
Annabel is a person; also a way of being. I found that feminine names could stand for, indeed, had to stand for, a way of the universe and a way of taking the universe: it all arises from the primitive and historical tendency to see femininity as logic and abstraction.
Here's how the poem begins:
We shall have, Annabel,

In November this,

With the changing of trees,

And the changing of skies,

And the changing of sun,

And the changing of all.

You will smile other, Annabel,

Feel other, Annabel,

Look on the past other, Annabel....

This Annabel IS a woman—and more. She is affected by, stirred by, the surrounding world—a world of evenings, trees, leaves falling to earth. And she becomes a quality of reality itself, and adjective describing what reality is and has: "it will be Annabel November." With so much more to say about this richly musical poem, I simply want others to know of it. You can read the whole of it on the Aesthetic Realism Online Library.