November: River

November shall have been a sombre month
like breath fetched from the navel of the earth
to say a word of ending. November
shall be a solemn month, recipient
of sides dashed down by rainfall, human turf.
The grass lashes. Flames ascend. The ash bed
a patch beneath god-eyebrow sky collects
a lifetime like the water’s look. This month
nods its face downwards. This was November.
Someone has died. Who hardly knows this.

by Vahni Capildeo

© Vahni Capildeo, 2009

Vahni Capildeo was born in Trinidad in 1973, and has lived in the UK since 1991. She is a Contributing Editor and the UK agent and representative for the Caribbean Review of Books. She is also a Contributing Advisor to Black Box Manifold, the University of Sheffield e-zine, and a member of the International Advisory Board for the Journal of Indo-Caribbean Studies.

This poem is from a series entitled ‘Winter to Winter’, and appears in the collection Undraining Sea, which was published by Egg Box last month. A poem from this book was Highly Commended in the Forward Poetry Prize, 2009. A second collection by Vahni Capildeo, Dark & Unaccustomed Words, is due out from Egg Box in 2010. You can find out more about Capildeo here, and hear her read some of her poems here.

Egg Box is a small, independent poetry publisher based in Norwich, run by young poet Nathan Hamilton. It is rapidly establishing a strong reputation for its freshness of approach and keen eye for talented newcomers. Click here to visit Egg Box’s website.