It must be the three weeks of rain that have me in this dark mood, or perhaps it’s just my personality. What do you think? Discuss.
Today I’m posting poems by Jane Kenyon. Kenyon, a resident of New Hampshire, was a brilliant poet who at times was overshadowed by her more famous husband Donald Hall. She died of cancer in the ’90s, leaving behind a small but powerful body of work. (And I personally prefer her writing to her husband’s, though his work is quite amazing as well.)
What I love about Kenyon’s poems are her rich images of nature, and the way she intertwines a personal mysticism with her surroundings. As a New Englander who spent her fair share of summers in New Hampshire, I adore the familiar world Kenyon moves in. Both of these poems come from her collection, Let Evening Come (Graywolf Press, 1990).
In the Grove: The Poet at Ten
She lay on her back in the timothy
and gazed past the doddering
auburn heads of sumac.
A cloud — huge, calm,
and dignified — covered the sun
but did not, could not, put it out.
The light surged back again.
Nothing could rouse her then
from that joy so violent
it was hard to distinguish from pain.
Let Evening Come
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to the air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.