Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Meet Jane Kenyon

I have several favorite poets, and one is Jane Kenyon. She was poet laureate of New Hampshire and produced only four books before her early death from cancer. She was married to Donald Hall, also a poet, who would become a National Poet Laureate.

Kenyon’s poems aren’t difficult which I appreciate, and they don’t rely on classical references. She speaks of rural life, simple things, nature, and even depression from which she too suffered. Her poems are like a flashlight streaming in late dusk. They light up what you know are on the path but single them out with a beam of concentrated attention. Through her eyes you see a ray of new perspective.

I love so many of her poems, but Let Evening Come is my all-time favorite. If you haven’t read it before, you are in for a treat. If you have read it before, I am sure you never tire of seeing it again…a prayer, meditation, something more than a mere poem.

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 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.

Wasn't that beautiful?


Susan said...

Oh, Bookie, that's a lovely poem. Just lovely. The images are very clear.

I was not at all familiar with that poet so thank you for introducing her to me!

Hope you have a peaceful, relaxing yet productive weekend! Susan

Marylin Warner said...

Oh, Claudia, this is wonderful poem, a meditation of gentle trust and truth. How beautiful.
Thank you for posting this...a perfect time since it's National Poetry Month!