I am not a regular participant in Poetry Friday (or in anything if truth be told) but I do like to wander around and find some new poems. A favorite spot to visit is Farm School. Last week Becky lead me indirectly to Jane Kenyon, and I read this lovely poem, Let Evening Come. It really spoke to me as I was just back from a trip home to NJ and the east coast for work and the tour d’aging relatives. I spent a nice day with my 90-year old aunt, who has some dementia. (She describes herself as ‘wifty’.) She is a nun, entered the convent at 16, and is now living in the retirement community she helped to build when she ran the order. Here she is at age one, wearing a helmet her uncle brought home from WWI.
We had a difficult relationship when I was younger, but we both grew and changed and developed a real bond. I miss that, and it’s sad that we can no longer talk about books and ideas, and that there is a bit less of her each time I visit. I picked her up and took her back to my sister’s house, where we spent the afternoon petting the dogs, drinking tea, having lunch and just being together. Of course, I did have to answer the same questions over and over again, but that is not so difficult when you are not with an elder all day every day. She has a deep faith in God, and is not distraught or worried as she faces the great beyond. This poem somehow seemed to capture the feeling of sitting with her, in her own twilight, watching the afternoon sun move across the hill.
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 the 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.
A bonus is the reference to knitting — does anyone have any other poems that reference knitting ? I’d love to know.