My friend, Janine, has started up something on her blog called “Poem Thursday” where she, and people who visit her site, post a favorite poem. She posted one last week, by Ted Genoways that I love, because it talks about winter; a favorite season, hence a favorite subject of mine in writing.
And this week, I decided to go looking for a poem by Jane Kenyon, for this very reason. My mother introduced me to her poetry several years ago, by giving me the book,“Let Evening Come” as a gift, and the inscription from my mother told me that she bought it because she thought of me when reading the beautiful poems about nature, especially winter scenes.
Since I’ve let my Mom borrow my two Jane Kenyon collections (The other is “The Boat of Quiet Hours”) till I’m back home, I went searching online for my poem this week. It’s not a winter one, but it resonated very much with me today!:
Killing the Plants
That year I discovered the virtues
of plants as companions: they don’t
argue, they don’t ask for much,
they don’t stay out until 3:00 A.M., then
lie to you about where they’ve been….
I can’t summon the ambition
to repot this grape ivy, or this sad
old cactus, or even to move them out
onto the porch for the summer,
where their lives would certainly
improve. I give them
a grudging dash of water that’s all
they get. I wonder if they suspect
that like Hamlet I rehearse murder
all hours of the day and night,
considering the town dump
and compost pile as possible graves….
The truth is that if I permit them
to live, they will go on giving
alms to the poor: sweet air, miraculous
flowers, the example of persistence.
And, the beautiful winter poem that Janine posted last week:
Instructions for Winter
You must private away a secret summer,
cached and fed by darkness like sourdough
in a larder, so that each noon numbered
in lamplight is matched by a midnight, yellow
with the slant of June. Against such permafrost,
you must toughen yourself on carrion;
you must fatten on summer – berries and moss -
to carry you across the windswept barrens.
Live – but remember the reason, the source
and abyss where everything living dies.
And when flakes swirl into drifts, hold
summer close and let winter run its course.
Curl in your den, sleep; and when you arise,
shoulder forth lean and perfected by cold.
- Ted Genoways