Poetry Friday and #SOLSC17:Insomnia by Jane Kenyon

Poetry Friday is hosted by Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

The Slice of Life March Writing Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers – 31 days of  a writing community.

More than with any other poet, I feel a deep connection with Jane Kenyon.  She loved a farm and came into herself there. She struggled with depression and found her art there. She battled insomnia and found a form of magic even in those exasperating  hours.  She felt an abiding bond with Nature in every one of her seasonal iterations and she noticed and delighted in even the smallest of her gifts.

Her books can be found in just about every room of our house in New Jersey, and, of course our beloved farm which is snowed under at the moment.  Spring and clearing the garden beds seems a very long way away, but  in reading Kenyon I can taste it…I feel my farm calling, and soon I will be there.


The Clearing by Jane Kenyon

The dog and I push through the ring
of dripping junipers
to enter the open space high on the hill
where I let him off the leash.

He vaults, snuffling, between tufts of moss;
twigs snap beneath his weight; he rolls
and rubs his jowls on the aromatic earth;
his pink tongue lolls.

I look for sticks of proper heft
to throw for him, while he sits, prim
and earnest in his love, if it is love.

All night a soaking rain, and now the hill
exhales relief, and the fragrance
of warm earth. . . . The sedges
have grown an inch since yesterday,
and ferns unfurled, and even if they try
the lilacs by the barn can’t
keep from opening today.

I longed for spring’s thousand tender greens,
and the white-throated sparrow’s call
that borders on rudeness. Do you know—
since you went away
all I can do
is wait for you to come back to me.


28 thoughts on “Poetry Friday and #SOLSC17:Insomnia by Jane Kenyon

  1. Tara, I see why you appreciate the life and writing of Jane Kenyon. This line, “I longed for spring’s thousand tender greens,” calls to me, especially this weekend when I organizing my winter gallery in anticipation of opening a new file for spring.

  2. That poem is so you, Tara, so I can also see why you love Jane Kenyon. Your farm says this to you . . .”Do you know—
    since you went away
    all I can do
    is wait for you to come back to me.”

  3. I’ve read a few Jane Kenyon poems, but your reference to her books being in almost every room is inspiring me to request one of her books so I can immerse myself in her poetry. Thanks for sharing this poem today.

  4. Her poetry is beautiful. Yesterday the sun was out and there was no wind so I did some spring pruning and pulled weeds in my lavender beds and rose beds. It was exhilarating to feel spring in the air. As I worked in the dark, damp soil, I thought of all of you blanketed under snow.

  5. And soon you will be there! I’m sure you love all of this wonderful poem, but perhaps especially the part about throwing those sticks to her dog, “sticks of proper heft
    to throw for him.” How wonderful to find a kinship with her, Tara. Words aiding our happiness!

  6. What a lovely poem that makes me long even more for spring. She has teased us this year. We had a delightful foretaste of warmth and sun that tempted buds to open and bloom. Then we are right back in winter’s grip with cold and snow and rain.

  7. That last verse is beautiful – but I love the build of the verse before; the rush of activity each impatient for their own part in spring. Spring in the country is such a vibrant, energetic, joyous time of year.

  8. Oh, Love the image of the dog rolling in the wet spring. I take my dog to a park where I can let her off leash. She rolls and rolls. Makes her so happy and she gets a bath in on rainy days. Lovely poem. thank you!

  9. Jane Kenyon is also a favourite of mine! I don’t think I’ve seen this poem before though. It’s lovely. I especially relate to the sensory:
    “…now the hill
    exhales relief, and the fragrance
    of warm earth…”

    I can smell it! Thanks for the burst of spring.

  10. Jane Kenyon’s poetry is so down-to-earth, yet her language soars. I love this line:

    even if they try
    the lilacs by the barn can’t
    keep from opening today.

    Kenyon’s farm in Wilmot, NH is near my town.

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