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Best Famous Jane Kenyon Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Jane Kenyon poems. This is a select list of the best famous Jane Kenyon poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Jane Kenyon poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Jane Kenyon poems.

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Written by Jane Kenyon | Create an image from this poem

Happiness

 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 basket maker, 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.
Written by Jane Kenyon | Create an image from this poem

Having it Out with Melancholy

 1FROM THE NURSERY


When I was born, you waited 
behind a pile of linen in the nursery, 
and when we were alone, you lay down 
on top of me, pressing
the bile of desolation into every pore.
And from that day on everything under the sun and moon made me sad -- even the yellow wooden beads that slid and spun along a spindle on my crib.
You taught me to exist without gratitude.
You ruined my manners toward God: "We're here simply to wait for death; the pleasures of earth are overrated.
" I only appeared to belong to my mother, to live among blocks and cotton undershirts with snaps; among red tin lunch boxes and report cards in ugly brown slipcases.
I was already yours -- the anti-urge, the mutilator of souls.
2BOTTLES Elavil, Ludiomil, Doxepin, Norpramin, Prozac, Lithium, Xanax, Wellbutrin, Parnate, Nardil, Zoloft.
The coated ones smell sweet or have no smell; the powdery ones smell like the chemistry lab at school that made me hold my breath.
3SUGGESTION FROM A FRIEND You wouldn't be so depressed if you really believed in God.
4OFTEN Often I go to bed as soon after dinner as seems adult (I mean I try to wait for dark) in order to push away from the massive pain in sleep's frail wicker coracle.
5ONCE THERE WAS LIGHT Once, in my early thirties, I saw that I was a speck of light in the great river of light that undulates through time.
I was floating with the whole human family.
We were all colors -- those who are living now, those who have died, those who are not yet born.
For a few moments I floated, completely calm, and I no longer hated having to exist.
Like a crow who smells hot blood you came flying to pull me out of the glowing stream.
"I'll hold you up.
I never let my dear ones drown!" After that, I wept for days.
6IN AND OUT The dog searches until he finds me upstairs, lies down with a clatter of elbows, puts his head on my foot.
Sometimes the sound of his breathing saves my life -- in and out, in and out; a pause, a long sigh.
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7PARDON A piece of burned meat wears my clothes, speaks in my voice, dispatches obligations haltingly, or not at all.
It is tired of trying to be stouthearted, tired beyond measure.
We move on to the monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
Day and night I feel as if I had drunk six cups of coffee, but the pain stops abruptly.
With the wonder and bitterness of someone pardoned for a crime she did not commit I come back to marriage and friends, to pink fringed hollyhocks; come back to my desk, books, and chair.
8CREDO Pharmaceutical wonders are at work but I believe only in this moment of well-being.
Unholy ghost, you are certain to come again.
Coarse, mean, you'll put your feet on the coffee table, lean back, and turn me into someone who can't take the trouble to speak; someone who can't sleep, or who does nothing but sleep; can't read, or call for an appointment for help.
There is nothing I can do against your coming.
When I awake, I am still with thee.
9WOOD THRUSH High on Nardil and June light I wake at four, waiting greedily for the first note of the wood thrush.
Easeful air presses through the screen with the wild, complex song of the bird, and I am overcome by ordinary contentment.
What hurt me so terribly all my life until this moment? How I love the small, swiftly beating heart of the bird singing in the great maples; its bright, unequivocal eye.
Written by Jane Kenyon | Create an image from this poem

February: Thinking of Flowers

 Now wind torments the field,
turning the white surface back
on itself, back and back on itself,
like an animal licking a wound.
Nothing but white--the air, the light; only one brown milkweed pod bobbing in the gully, smallest brown boat on the immense tide.
A single green sprouting thing would restore me.
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Then think of the tall delphinium, swaying, or the bee when it comes to the tongue of the burgundy lily.
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Notes from the Other Side

 I divested myself of despair
and fear when I came here.
Now there is no more catching one's own eye in the mirror, there are no bad books, no plastic, no insurance premiums, and of course no illness.
Contrition does not exist, nor gnashing of teeth.
No one howls as the first clod of earth hits the casket.
The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour, and God, as promised, proves to be mercy clothed in light.
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Otherwise

 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.
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The Blue Bowl

 Like primitives we buried the cat
with his bowl.
Bare-handed we scraped sand and gravel back into the hole.
They fell with a hiss and thud on his side, on his long red fur, the white feathers between his toes, and his long, not to say aquiline, nose.
We stood and brushed each other off.
There are sorrows keener than these.
Silent the rest of the day, we worked, ate, stared, and slept.
It stormed all night; now it clears, and a robin burbles from a dripping bush like the neighbor who means well but always says the wrong thing.
Written by Jane Kenyon | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Jane Kenyon | Create an image from this poem

Biscuit

 The dog has cleaned his bowl
and his reward is a biscuit,
which I put in his mouth
like a priest offering the host.
I can't bear that trusting face! He asks for bread, expects bread, and I in my power might have given him a stone.
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Finding A Long Gray Hair

 I scrub the long floorboards
in the kitchen, repeating
the motions of other women
who have lived in this house.
And when I find a long gray hair floating in the pail, I feel my life added to theirs.
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The Suitor

 We lie back to back.
Curtains lift and fall, like the chest of someone sleeping.
Wind moves the leaves of the box elder; they show their light undersides, turning all at once like a school of fish.
Suddenly I understand that I am happy.
For months this feeling has been coming closer, stopping for short visits, like a timid suitor.
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Briefly It Enters and Briefly Speaks

 I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years.
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I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper.
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When the young girl who starves sits down to a table she will sit beside me.
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I am food on the prisoner's plate.
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I am water rushing to the wellhead, filling the pitcher until it spills.
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I am the patient gardener of the dry and weedy garden.
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I am the stone step, the latch, and the working hinge.
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I am the heart contracted by joy.
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the longest hair, white before the rest.
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I am there in the basket of fruit presented to the widow.
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I am the musk rose opening unattended, the fern on the boggy summit.
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I am the one whose love overcomes you, already with you when you think to call my name.
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Written by Jane Kenyon | Create an image from this poem

Wash

 All day the blanket snapped and swelled
on the line, roused by a hot spring wind.
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From there it witnessed the first sparrow, early flies lifting their sticky feet, and a green haze on the south-sloping hills.
Clouds rose over the mountain.
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At dusk I took the blanket in, and we slept, restless, under its fragrant weight.
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Twilight: After Haying

 Yes, long shadows go out
from the bales; and yes, the soul
must part from the body:
what else could it do?

The men sprawl near the baler, 
too tired to leave the field.
They talk and smoke, and the tips of their cigarettes blaze like small roses in the night air.
(It arrived and settled among them before they were aware.
) The moon comes to count the bales, and the dispossessed-- Whip-poor-will, Whip-poor-will --sings from the dusty stubble.
These things happen.
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the soul's bliss and suffering are bound together like the grasses.
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The last, sweet exhalations of timothy and vetch go out with the song of the bird; the ravaged field grows wet with dew.
Written by Jane Kenyon | Create an image from this poem

Dutch Interiors

 Christ has been done to death
in the cold reaches of northern Europe
a thousand thousand times.
Suddenly bread and cheese appear on a plate beside a gleaming pewter beaker of beer.
Now tell me that the Holy Ghost does not reside in the play of light on cutlery! A Woman makes lace, with a moist-eyed spaniel lying at her small shapely feet.
Even the maid with the chamber pot is here; the naughty, red-cheeked girl.
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And the merchant's wife, still in her yellow dressing gown at noon, dips her quill into India ink with an air of cautious pleasure.