35 thoughts on “The Last Day of November

    • Always appreciated Mary Ruefle’s essay about the rather ubiquitous misunderstanding of sentimental. Took a risk in using dissonant rhythms at certain times in this one. So good to hear from you, and I sure hope your holidays are dappled with delight.

    • I don’ know. But the good souls–you–feel as you do.
      Thanks, dear Susan. I hope your holidays are
      sprinkled with good times.

  1. I am supposing you have no objection to this going (as a web address) to some friends and, perhaps, to 36 students who are enduring my class to its final day and assignment. Some things matter more than others. Joe

    • Honored, Joe. Very very much. And my admiration is high as the Washington Monument that you
      continue teaching. So glad for your lucky students that you are!
      Thank you. So much.

  2. Powerful is not a powerful enough word for this poem. Breathtaking. Breath taking. It made me gasp. I wish you didn’t have to write it either, but I’m glad you did.

  3. Dear Jack, I listened first. Then David and I listened and read along together. Your poem helps us (and others) drain a painful abscess after such a tragedy. Yet we are each still left to tend the wound in the aftermath. One kindness at a time to anyone who crosses our path is all that comes to heart and mind this morning. Sending peace and love.

    • Susan, I am so so very moved by your response. The wound we have and to try to
      imagine that of those there is not possible. 25 years of this and still nothing.
      One kindness at a time. Yes, oh yes.

  4. Jack, thank you for this poem that you did want to write. You hit the essence of this ongoing angst from the violence in our country. I so appreciate your work.

  5. Dear Jack, Wow. That poem knocked me out. It’s stunning in its power, its insight, its wisdom. Hearing you read it just made it moreso. Thank you, my friend.

    This morning I looked at two politicians’ family Christmas greetings on Huff Post: both posted Holiday pictures with every damned member of the family holding a gun. It sickened me. I wondered how they could be so hard, so shallow, so inhumane–so Christian???–especially considering what happened at Oxford High School.

    Your poem humanizes us. Reminds us of the divine image we’re created with. Thank you, my friend.

    I’ve wondered if you’d seen my previous email. I’d love to visit you, but only if it’s safe and if it works. Next Friday, the 10th, at 3:30. If it doesn’t we’ll just look ahead. I plan to ZOOM with the group on Thursday, the 9th. Thanks for inviting me.

    More importantly, thanks for being the prophetic, wise voice that you are. And friend. That especially.

    Yours, Mark

    • Your remarkable and humbling response, my friend, leaps out from behind the screen.
      My stomach curls at those politicians. Those poor children. Did they have a say in the
      photograph???? See you Friday! Glad, very glad.

  6. Jack, I wish you didn’t have to write your very tragic poem. When will guns be outlawed and schools be safe again?
    Best to you and yours , Joanie

  7. Thank you, Jack. The killings have sparked so much copycat behavior in schools as well. So many disturbed and unhappy kids. It makes me want to go back and talk to our students. It must have been brewing for some time. The school had choices they could have made, and the parents were totally out of line to have provided a gun! It is all so horribly sad.

    Sent from my iPhone


  8. Stark. I passed it on – – – what can one do but mourn.

    Here – attached – is a column I’m thinking of submitting for my January column. Thoughts?

  9. Phew. With its several startlements, this poem breaks open my shielded soul. Love spoken to numbing violence. And, I can’t help but hear “lamb’s wool” without also hearing “the Lamb — that was slain.” Thank you Jack for daring this poem.

  10. Gayle, what a deeply moving response. Thank ye. And I so appreciate your
    acute noting of the use of lamb’s wool. Yes, intentional. And I also appreciate
    your saying “daring.” For me it was, even in its dissonant rhythms.

  11. Oh Jack…so glad you sent this. I don’t always get Rattle for some reason. Oh Jack…this is the way to remember…lest we forget. The way to tell the story hoping hoping one day the stories/poems will save us. Save our children.


  12. Thank you for this, and the many periodic poems. It was mentioned in the comments of today’s NYTimes article.

    During the pandemic last summer my daughter asked to learn knitting, and I learned online and taught us both. She lost interest, but I was delighted by it and knit constantly now. I’m impressed that your wife is so adept.

    Regards, Nathanael Buckley 202-413-7554


  13. Dear Jack,
    Lee and I listened to you read this poem, and we were both stunned. I am again grateful for your ability to help us navigate the confusion and anger, to honor the sorrow and help bind open wounds inflicted so senselessly. Your poem…so personal…so panoramic. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s