Sunday, October 17, 2010

And Don't Be Afraid

I read this poem a few minutes ago and I immediately wanted to share it with you.  I can't express exactly why it resonates with me so much, but poetry touches us on so many different levels, it is often hard to articulate why it accomplishes what it does.

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.

I wish I had taken photos of barns in years past when they were a common sight for me, or really looked at a hoe abandoned in long grass, or paid attention to the landscape dotted with bales of hay.  I especially like the poem's images of light of late afternoon shining through chinks in the barn, the fox going back to its sandy den, the wind dying down, and the shed going black inside.  Go back and look at some of the nouns in the poem:  light, cricket, yarn, dew, stars, moon, (silver) horn, bottle (in the ditch), scoop (in the oats)...  . There are so many objects I bypass every day without giving them a thought. Bypass. Pass by. I must do better.

At the moment, I'd like to be sitting in a squeaky swing on an old wooden porch surrounded by oak trees and Spanish moss at dusk, when dinner supper is over, and the only care is a sink with suds and a few dishes. I think I was there once upon a time, but I don't remember appreciating it. I am trying to do better.

At the beginning of this post, I said I couldn't explain why this poem resonates with me. I still can't. I have written and deleted sentences and paragraphs because they are simply inadequate. Let the poem speak for itself. Read it again, aloud if possible. It is a comfort poem. It will calm your spirit.

And let us take the last line with us --  "...don't be afraid. God does not leave us comfortless, so let evening come."

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