Norman MacCaig was known to base his themes on the landscape and the natural world. In his poem November Nights he bases his theme on features of Edinburgh, the city where he was brought up in. .
He states: "I gulp down winter raw." .
By analysing this, we realise that he is trying to say that the weather is very harsh or extremely cold. He also produces a feeling of great pain almost as though the frost or snow is biting into your skin resulting in excruciating grief. It is known that during winter in Edinburgh the weather is usually exceedingly cold and miserable. In another line he says: "The worlds a bear shrugged in his den.".
Once again reiterating the fact that the winter causes people to "hibernate" or take shelter in their homes because of the great coldness.
He introduces another idea by stating: "Darkness swirls with tenements.".
In this idea he acknowledges the fact that houses in Edinburgh were usually built upwards like flats, rather than sideways. This gives the reader a good idea of what Edinburgh looks like, because of the lack of space for houses.
At the start of his poem he recognises the amount of pollution in Edinburgh by stating: "The brown air fumes at the shop windows.".
By revealing this to his readers, he exposes that Edinburgh is an industrial city and produces a lot of pollution. .
Therefore in conclusion it has to said that Norman MacCaig is a naturalist and has based the theme of November Nights on the earthly environment of Edinburgh. .