Archives for posts with tag: Jane Kenyon

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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.

“Happiness” appears in Otherwise: New and Selected Poems by Jane Kenyon (Graywolf Press, 1995), available at Amazon.com, where hardcover copies of the 230-page book are available for just one (1) cent plus shipping.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Kenyon earned a BA from the University of Michigan in 1970 and an MA in 1972. That same year, Kenyon married the poet Donald Hall, and moved to Eagle Pond Farm in New Hampshire. Kenyon’s published books of poetry include Constance (1993), Let Evening Come (1990), The Boat of Quiet Hours (1986), and From Room to Room (1978). In December 1993, she and Donald Hall were the subject of an Emmy Award-winning Bill Moyers documentary, “A Life Together.” At the time of her death from leukemia, in April 1995, Jane Kenyon was New Hampshire’s poet laureate.

Illustration: “Female Noir” by noirnation.com.

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WASH
by Jane Kenyon

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.

Photo by haunted snowfort, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Image
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.

“Happiness” appears in Otherwise: New and Selected Poems by Jane Kenyon (Graywolf Press, 1995), available at Amazon.com, where hardcover copies of the 230-page book are available for just one (1) cent plus shipping.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Kenyon earned a BA from the University of Michigan in 1970 and an MA in 1972. That same year, Kenyon married the poet Donald Hall, and moved to Eagle Pond Farm in New Hampshire. Kenyon’s published books of poetry include Constance (1993), Let Evening Come (1990), The Boat of Quiet Hours (1986), and From Room to Room (1978). In December 1993, she and Donald Hall were the subject of an Emmy Award-winning Bill Moyers documentary, “A Life Together.” At the time of her death from leukemia, in April 1995, Jane Kenyon was New Hampshire’s poet laureate.

Illustration: “Female Noir” by noirnation.com.