Evening Poetry, September 14

Windfalls

by Jane Kenyon

The storm is moving on, and as the wind
rises, the oaks and pines let go
of all the snow on their branches,
an abrupt change of heart,
and the air turns utterly white.

Woooh, says the wind, and I stop
where I am, put out my arms
and look upward, allowing
myself to disappear. It is good
to be here, and not here....

I see fresh cloven prints
under the apple tree, where deer come
nosing for windfalls. They must be
near me now, and having stopped
when I stopped, begin to move again.

You can find this in Collected Poems.

Evening Poetry, September 1

Happiness

by Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
                     It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

You can find this poem in Collected Poems.

Evening Poetry, August 21

The Clothes Pin

by Jane Kenyon

How much better it is

to carry wood to the fire

than to moan about your life.

How much better

to throw the garbage

onto the compost, or to pin the clean

sheet on the line

with a gray-brown wooden clothes pin!

You can find this poem in Collected Poems.

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Evening Poetry, August 18

Here

by Jane Kenyon

You always belonged here.

You were theirs, certain as a rock.

I’m the one who worries

if I fit in with the furniture

and the landscape.

But I “follow too much

the devices and desires of my own heart.”

Already the curves in the road

are familiar to me, and the mountain

in all kinds of light,

treating all people the same.

And when I come over the hill,

I see the house, with its generous

and firm proportions, smoke

rising gaily from the chimney.

I feel my life start up again,

like a cutting when it grows

the first pale and tentative

root hair in a glass of water.

You can find this poem in Collected Poems.

Evening Poetry, August 15

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.

You can find this poem in Collected Poems.

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Evening Poetry, August 10

The Visit

by Jane Kenyon

The talkative guest has gone,

and we sit in the yard

saying nothing. The slender moon

comes over the peak of the barn.

The air is damp, and dense

with the scent of honeysuckle….

The last clever story has been told

and answered with laughter.

With my sleeping self I met

my obligations, but now I am aware

of the silence, and your affection,

and the delicate sadness of dusk.

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

Affiliate Statement: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. This helps keep my blog running. Thank you!