Evening Poetry, May 26

This poem can be found in The Book of a Monastic Life in Rilke’s Book of Hours by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Only as a child am I awake

and able to trust

that after every fear and every night

I will behold you again.

However often I get lost,

however far my thinking strays,

I know you will be here, right here,

time trembling around you.

To me it is as if I were at once

infant, boy, man, and more.

I feel that only as it circles

is abundance found.

I thank you, deep power

that works me ever more lightly

in ways I can’t make out.

The day’s labor grows simple now,

and like a holy face

held in my dark hands.

I, 62

Evening Poetry, May 25

Otherwise

by Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed

on two strong legs.

It might have been

otherwise. I ate

cereal, sweet

milk, ripe, flawless

peach. It might

have been otherwise.

I took the dog uphill

to the birch wood.

All morning I did

the work I love.

At noon I lay down

with my mate. It might

have been otherwise.

We ate dinner together

at a table with silver

candlesticks. It might

have been otherwise.

I slept in a bed

in a room with paintings

on the walls, and

planned another day

just like this day.

But one day, I know,

it will be otherwise.

You can find this poem in the collection Otherwise by Jane Kenyon.

Evening Poetry, May 24

A Prayer in Spring

by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;

And give us no to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here

All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,

Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;

And make us happy in the happy bees,

The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird

That suddenly above the bees is heard,

The meteor that thrusts in the needle bill,

And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,

The which it is reserved for God above

To sanctify to what far ends He will,

But which it only needs that we fulfill.

You can find this poem in Robert Frost: Collected Poems, Prose, and Plays.

Evening Poetry, May 23

Let Evening Come

by Jane Kenyon

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.

This poem can be found in Otherwise by Jane Kenyon.

Evening Poetry, May 22

homage to my hips

by Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips

they need space to

move around in.

they don’t fit into little

pretty places. these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips.

I have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top.

You can find this poem in Penguin’s Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry.

Evening Poetry, May 21

Mother to Son

by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

You can find this poem in The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.

Evening Poetry, May 20

First Fig

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–

It gives a lovely light!

You can find this poem in The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry.