Friday, April 13, 2007

Poetry of death - 1

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.

Jane Kenyon (1947 - 1995)

I have been thinking of doing a series on poetry and death. Sounds macabre for April, I know. But April is the month of my Mom’s birthday (she who died last June) and in my mind it’s Mom’s month, even though there are a host of other birthdays in April, including my own daughter’s tomorrow. However, I keep thinking about Mom. And so I’m going to devote some of this poetry month to the poetry of death.

That is one of the wonderful things about this genre of writing – how useful it is in processing big life-events like death.

The above is one of my favorites.


Julana said...

That is a great poem. I once got to hear poet Donald Hall, Kenyon's husband, speak. She had passed away within the previous year. Very interesting, gifted couple.

violet said...

Oh my, lucky you! Isn't Donald Hall the U.S.'s present poet laureate?

Julana said...

Oh, you're right. I think I'd heard that and forgotten. I've really enjoyed his books of essays, also.