Jane Kenyon’s poetry pays attention to the “luminous particular”, as the poet Donald Hall phrases it. It’s quiet, direct, and self-aware.
When asked in an interview “What’s a poet’s job?”, Jane Kenyon answered that it is to “tell the whole truth . . . in such a beautiful way that people cannot live without it; to put into words those feelings we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so difficult to name”. She often wrote about the seasonal changes at Eagle Pond Farm. Like mud season. It’s a New England thing, the cold and damp of a March day. But it’s the earliest stirrings and hope of Spring that Kenyon promises us in “Mud Season.”
Here in purgatory bare ground
is visible, except in shady places
where snow prevails.
Still, each day sees
the restoration of another animal:
a sparrow, just now a sleepy wasp;
and, at twilight, the skunk
pokes out of the den,
anxious for mates and meals…
On the floor of the woodshed
the coldest imaginable ooze,
and soon the first shoots
of asparagus will rise,
the fingers of Lazarus…
Earth’s open wounds – where the plow
gouged the ground last November-
must be smoothed; some sown
with seed, and all forgotten.
Now the nuthatch spurns the suet,
resuming its diet of flies, and the mesh
bag, limp and greasy, might be taken
Beside the porch step
the crocus prepares an exultation
of purple, but for the moment
holds its tongue…
Every year I appreciate, more than ever, the beauty of bulbs. They’re not just pretty flowers, they’re memories. And there are always surprises~ sometimes tiny messy patches of odd blooms or different colors spring up amidst a mass of unassuming daffodils. Magical little surprises to keep me awake. The blooms come out, wake up, ruffle their petals and take pleasure in the day and the sun. They need nothing more. Surrender to nature -think like a bulb.
Make friends with paperwhites. It’s a Per Diem Good Thing.