Evening Poetry, August 29

Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer

by Jane Kenyon

We turned into the drive,

and gravel flew up from the tires

like sparks from a fire. So much

to be done–the unpacking, the mail

and papers…the grass needed mowing….

We climbed stiffly out of the car.

The shut-off engine ticked as it cooled.

And then we noticed the pear tree,

the limbs so heavy with fruit

they nearly touched the ground.

We went out to the meadow; our steps

made black holes in the grass;

and we each took a pear,

and ate, and were grateful.

This poem can be found in Otherwise by Jane Kenyon.

Evening Poetry, June 15

Peonies at Dusk

by Jane Kenyon

White peonies blooming along the porch

send out light

while the rest of the yard grows dim.

Outrageous flowers as big as human

heads! They’re staggered

by their own luxuriance: I had

to prop them up with stakes and twine.

The moist air intensifies their scent,

and the moon moves around the barn

to find out what it’s coming from.

In the darkening June evening

I draw a blossom near, and bending close

search it as a woman searches

a loved one’s face.

This poem can be found in the collection Otherwise by Jane Kenyon.

Evening Poetry, June 7

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 collection Otherwise by Jane Kenyon.

Evening Poetry, May 28

Ironing Grandmother’s Tablecloth

by Jane Kenyon

As a bride, you made it smooth,

pulling the edges straight, the corners square.

For years you went over the same piece

of cloth, the way Grandfather walked to work.

This morning, I move the iron across the damask,

back and forth, up and down. You are ninety-four.

Each day you dress yourself, then go back to bed

and listen to radio sermons, staring at the ceiling.

When I visit, you tell me your troubles:

how my father left poisoned grapefruit on the back

porch at Christmas, how somebody comes at night

to throw stones at the house.

The streets of your brain become smaller,

old houses torn down. Talking to me

is hard work, keeping things straight,

whose child I am, whether I have children.

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

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 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 15

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 garbage

onto the compost, or to pin the clean

sheet on the line

with a gray-brown wooden clothes pins!

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