Well, our month of poems is over.
As promised, I’ve posted a link to a different poem every day for April.
May is here, and that’s just as good a month for poetry, isn’t it, what with its budding flowers and showering storms?
And then there’s June, with its roses and graduation and brides. July’s picnics, parades, and strawberry shortcakes. August’s elongated days of warmth by the river.
And let’s not even talk about September and October, which are almost too poetic with their dwindling, slanted light, chilling evenings, and sparkling stars.
I’m sneaking one more in under the wire for April (pretend you read it yesterday). This poem’s got nothing to do with spring, but who cares?
I love the specific, recognizable details: the gravel and the sound of tires (in fact, a sound that always somehow evoked the scrape of horses hooves on a dirt road; a sound I adored as a child. I would slowly ride my bike over the gravelly ends of neighborhood driveways, over and over, just to hear it); the laundry list of chores that inevitably await at the end of any trip away, no matter how short; the stiff limbs unfolding from the car; that ticking engine, slowly cooling in the still evening air.
And I love the “and then”, that carries your gaze from the immediate mess of arrival, to the pear tree, in the tall grass of the meadow. The perfect pears. The gratitude for home. The chores can wait just a bit longer.
But mostly what I love is how the words in this brief poem—just fourteen lines long—take me from this wooden chair, in this chilly room, in this old house, on this cold, rainy, dark spring morning to the warm summer twilight in the writer’s imagination. I read it. I feel it. I’m there. Isn’t that what good writing—good art—is all about? Letting you live for fourteen lines, or three hundred pages, or a thousand brushstrokes in another time or place or in another person’s imagination?
Besides, I believe you just can’t have enough Jane Kenyon in your life.
Coming Home At Twilight in Late Summer
We turned into the drive,
and gravel flew up from the tires
like sparks from a fire. So much
to be done—the unpacking, the mail
and papers; the grass needed mowing . . .
We climbed stiffly out of the car.
The shut-off engine ticked as it cooled.
And then we noticed the pear tree,
the limbs so heavy with fruit
they nearly touched the ground.
We went out to the meadow; our steps
made black holes in the grass;
and we each took a pear,
and ate, and were grateful.
– Jane Kenyon