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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 Jean Valentine | |

Elegy For Jane Kenyon

 Jane is big
with death, Don
sad and kind - Jane
though she's dying
is full of mind

We talk about the table
the little walnut one
how it's like
Emily Dickinson's

But Don says No
Dickinson's
was made of iron.
No said Jane Of flesh.


Written by Jane Kenyon | |

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.
.
.
.
Then think of the tall delphinium, swaying, or the bee when it comes to the tongue of the burgundy lily.


Written by Jane Kenyon | |

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.


More great poems below...

Written by Jane Kenyon | |

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 | |

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.
.
.
.
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.


Written by Jane Kenyon | |

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.
.
.
the soul's bliss and suffering are bound together like the grasses.
.
.
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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

Wash

 All day the blanket snapped and swelled
on the line, roused by a hot spring wind.
.
.
.
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.
.
.
.
At dusk I took the blanket in, and we slept, restless, under its fragrant weight.


Written by Jane Kenyon | |

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.


Written by Jane Kenyon | |

Briefly It Enters and Briefly Speaks

 I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years.
.
.
.
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.
.
.
.
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.
.
.
.
I am the one whose love overcomes you, already with you when you think to call my name.
.
.
.


Written by Jane Kenyon | |

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.


Written by Jane Kenyon | |

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.


Written by Jane Kenyon | |

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.


Written by Galway Kinnell | |

How Could You Not

 -- for Jane kenyon


It is a day after many days of storms.
Having been washed and washed, the air glitters; small heaped cumuli blow across the sky; a shower visible against the firs douses the crocuses.
We knew it would happen one day this week.
Now, when I learn you have died, I go to the open door and look across at New Hampshire and see that there, too, the sun is bright and clouds are making their shadowy ways along the horizon; and I think: How could it not have been today? In another room, Keri Te Kanawa is singing the Laudate Dominum of Mozart, very faintly, as if in the past, to those who once sat in the steel seat of the old mowing machine, cheerful descendent of the scythe of the grim reaper, and drew the cutter bars little reciprocating triangles through the grass to make the stalks lie down in sunshine.
Could you have walked in the dark early this morning and found yourself grown completely tired of the successes and failures of medicine, of your year of pain and despair remitted briefly now and then by hope that had that leaden taste? Did you glimpse in first light the world as you loved it and see that, now, it was not wrong to die and that, on dying, you would leave your beloved in a day like paradise? Near sunrise did you loosen your hold a little? How could you not already have felt blessed for good, having these last days spoken your whole heart to him, who spoke his whole heart to you, so that in the silence he would not feel a single word was missing? How could you not have slipped into a spell, in full daylight, as he lay next to you, with his arms around you, as they have been, it must have seemed, all your life? How could your cheek not press a moment to his cheek, which presses itself to yours from now on? How could you not rise and go, with all that light at the window, those arms around you, and the sound, coming or going, hard to say, of a single-engine plane in the distance that no one else hears?