February by Jane Kenyon

Jane Kenyon 1947-1995

The winter has not been too long, really, but the great snow in these last weeks has caused trouble and hardship for people in Massachusetts. As always, when weather changes, disrupting our lives, the working poor suffer the most. Hourly workers must get to their jobs. The snow is not an inconvenience for them; it is an enemy. There is no fun or mystery or comfort in it most of the time.

Here is February by Jane Kenyon. She died way too young in 1995. She was a rural, simple, elegant poet; I wish I could have met her. Last week I talked about her poems with a friend.  A single sprouting thing would restore me….

Now wind torments the field,
turning the white surface back
on itself, back and back on itself,
like an animal licking a wound.

Nothing but white–the air, the light;
only one brown milkweed pod
bobbing in the gully, smallest
brown boat on the immense tide.

A single green sprouting thing
would restore me. . . .

Then think of the tall delphinium,
swaying, or the bee when it comes
to the tongue of the burgundy lily.

One thought on “February by Jane Kenyon

  1. “…back and back on itself,
    like an animal licking a wound.”

    Sheer beauty Jeff. So powerfully descriptive. Beautiful poem.


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