Wednesday 1 November 2023


I first read this verse by the nineteenth-century poet Thomas Hood when I was, maybe, 10 or 11, and although I probably didn't completely understand the meaning of all the lines, I still remember the absolute, pure delight that was awaiting me in last one...


No sun—no moon!
No morn—no noon—
No dawn—
No sky—no earthly view—
No distance looking blue—
No road—no street—no "t'other side the way"—
No end to any Row—
No indications where the Crescents go—
No top to any steeple—
No recognitions of familiar people—
No courtesies for showing 'em—
No knowing 'em!
No traveling at all—no locomotion,
No inkling of the way—no notion—
"No go"—by land or ocean—
No mail—no post—
No news from any foreign coast—
No park—no ring—no afternoon gentility—
No company—no nobility—
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member—
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

– Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

Today, the poem is often presented in a considerably edited-down form and is invariable given the title 'November', which pretty much demolishes the punchline!

[Photo: Brian Sibley]

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