Evening Poetry, October 1

The Painters

by Jane Kenyon

A hot dry day in early fall…

The men have cut the vines

from the shutters, and scraped

the clapboards clean, and now

their heads appear all day

in all the windows…

their arms or shirtless torsos,

or a rainbow-speckled rag

swinging from a belt.

They work in earnest–

these are the last warm days.

Flies bump and buzz

between the screens and panes,

torpid from last night’s frost:

the brittle months advance…

ruts frozen in the icy drive,

and the deeply black and soundless

nights. But now the painters

lean out from their ladders, squint

against the light, and lay on

the thick white paint.

From the lawn their radio predicts rain,

then cold Canadian air….

One of them works way up

on the dormer peak,

where a few wasps levitate

near the vestige of a nest.

You can find this poem in The Boat of Quiet Hours by Jane Kenyon.

A hot dry day in early fall….

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