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This poem is well suited to November’s darker days.

The changing of the clocks seems like an example of humanity’s authority over its own environment, and yet it always reminds me just how out-of-our-control day and night, light and dark truly are. The days will grow shorter, no matter our efforts or anxieties. Nature will begin to die. We will too, come to that.

This poem suggests that embracing the inevitable (whether it be the changing of the seasons or death itself) need not be an act of despair. It can be an act of great trust.

Technically, I should call this a pastoral poem, but, to me, it always reads more like prayer.

 

                    Let Evening Come

          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.

                    – Jane Kenyon

 

Maplehurst

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