"The Region November" is coupled in my mind with a poem which I visit in May of each year: Philip Larkin's "The Trees." "Swaying, swaying, swaying" (see below) and "afresh, afresh, afresh" provide guideposts for the turnings of the year (two of them, at least). So please bear with me.
James McIntosh Patrick (1907-1998), "Autumn Afternoon"
The Region November
It is hard to hear the north wind again,
And to watch the treetops, as they sway.
They sway, deeply and loudly, in an effort,
So much less than feeling, so much less than speech,
Saying and saying, the way things say
On the level of that which is not yet knowledge:
A revelation not yet intended.
It is like a critic of God, the world
And human nature, pensively seated
On the waste throne of his own wilderness.
Deeplier, deeplier, loudlier, loudlier,
The trees are swaying, swaying, swaying.
Wallace Stevens, "Late Poems," Collected Poetry and Prose (The Library of America 1997).
James McIntosh Patrick, "Byroad near Kingoodie" (1962)
This idea of autumn-into-winter trees "saying and saying" and "swaying, swaying, swaying" brings to mind a poem by Thomas Hardy. I seldom think of Hardy and Stevens in connection with one another: they seem to inhabit different worlds, Hardy's being more human and less abstract than Stevens's. But in these two poems they circle around a similar thought. (And not simply because the word "sway" occurs in both poems.)
The Upper Birch-Leaves
In the blue serene,
How they skip and sway
On this autumn day!
They cannot know
What has happened below, --
That their boughs down there
Are already quite bare,
That their own will be
When a week has passed, --
For they jig as in glee
To this very last.
But no; there lies
At times in their tune
A note that cries
What at first I fear
I did not hear:
"O we remember
At each wind's hollo --
Though life holds yet --
We go hence soon,
For 'tis November;
-- But that you follow
You may forget!"
Thomas Hardy, Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous Verses (1917).
Hardy has a Dorset countryman's view of things, of course. Which, to my mind, is a good thing. However, some might argue that he is not as "sophisticated" as Stevens. I disagree. As much as I love "The Region November" (and many other poems by Stevens), no poet has looked as closely at -- and as deeply into -- the World and its denizens as Hardy has.
But enough of these quibbles. All that matters is this: Hardy and Stevens both know what November means. And trees do talk.
James McIntosh Patrick, "Wellbank, Rossie Priory"