Poetry Friday: “Here” by Jane Kenyon

Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Carol atCarol’s Corner

Last week, still fighting “writing ennui”, I turned to Georgia Heard’s Writing Toward Home:Tales And Lessons To Find Your Way Homea book that has always helped  jumpstart my writing life.  As luck would have it, I opened to “Querencia”:

In Spanish, querencia describes a place where one feels safe, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn, a place where one feels at home.  It comes from the verb querer, which means to desire, to want.

My mind immediately turned to the farm, to the pull that drew me there from the very first time I drove by it by chance, to the moment I drove up the driveway, its keys in my hand.

“Write about where you feel most at home, where your querencia is…” urged Georgia Heard, and suddenly I was off and running.  I may be struggling with writing about teaching, about books I’ve been reading, about everything else, but I seem to always be able to feel my writing again when I think of the farm.

Sometimes, one’s  querencia is an always known thing.  My husband feels this about upstate New York, where he grew up.  Sometimes, querencia is just a state of mind.  Having grown up in many different places, and moved around a lot in my adult life, I had come to believe that this was true for me…I didn’t need a place as such, it was just a matter of inward “at homeness”.  Then,  I found the farm.

We’ve drained the water and shuttered the farmhouse for winter, knowing that this would not be the winter to journey up every weekend, or even for the Christmas holidays.  But I feel a strength from it anyway –  and, because of that I am able to find my way back to writing again.  It is, as Georgia Heard says: “…for writers, that burning urge to write is our  querencia.  In order to feel at home we have to be writing…Writing is a way of finding and keeping our home.”

farm collage


“Here”      Jane Kenyon

You always belonged here.

You were theirs, certain as a rock.

I’m the one who worries

if I fit in with the furniture

and the landscape.

                             But I “follow too much

the devices and desires of my own heart.”

Already the curves in the road

are familiar to me, and the mountain

in all kinds of light,

treating all people the same.

And when I come over the hill,

I see the house, with its generous

and firm proportions, smoke

rising gaily from its chimney.

I feel my life start up again,

like a cutting when it grows

the first pale and tentative

root hair in a glass of water.

8 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Here” by Jane Kenyon

  1. I do love that book by Georgia Heard. I’ve used the ‘querenzia’ idea with students, Tara. Try it, you’ll be amazed at what they share. What a beautiful poem for this time with this house in your life. “Already the curves in the road/are familiar to me.” Sorry you’ve shuttered it off for the winter-I wondered how hard it would be to travel up. Hope you’ll have a great rest of the weekend. Thanks for this beautiful poem.

  2. “like a cutting.” Ah, love that thought. I met and had a special discussion with Georgia Heard at NCTE. You need her latest poetry collection, “The Woman in this Poem.” I have ordered 3 copies to give for Christmas gifts.

  3. This was a great post! Needed all of it! “Already the curves in the road are familiar to me” struck a chord, as when we lived for a while in the midwest and drove back to Maine to family, I could smell Maine before I could see it, and all the “homeness” of it would come flooding back. Thanks for a much needed post, as I yell at the dog and cat for playing too rough and yanking me from my “querencia” – which I didn’t know was a thing, but now see it.

  4. What a beautiful post, Tara. I’ve been thinkng a lot of “home” lately, and what it means in different stages and phases of our lives. Glad you’ve reconnected with some inspiration! Georgia’s books always inspire. I was just thinking today that I need to feature the new one Margaret mentioned.

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