Let Evening Come
By Jane Kenyon
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.
About the author
(Excerpt from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/jane-kenyon)
Jane Kenyon (1947 – 1995) was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and earned both her BA and MA from the University of Michigan. While a student at the University of Michigan Kenyon met her future husband, the poet Donald Hall, who taught there. After her marriage, Kenyon moved with Hall to Eagle Pond Farm, a New Hampshire farm that had been in Hall’s family for generations.
Kenyon published four volumes of poetry during her life: From Room to Room (1978), The Boat of Quiet Hours (1986), Let Evening Come (1990), and Constance (1993), and, as translator, Twenty Poems of Anna Akmatova (1985). Despite her relatively small output, her poetry was highly lauded by critics throughout her lifetime. As fellow poet Carol Muske remarked in the New York Times when describing Kenyon’s The Boat of Quiet Hours, “These poems surprise beauty at every turn and capture truth at its familiar New England slant. Here, in Keats’s terms, is a capable poet.” Indeed, Kenyon’s work has often been compared with that of English Romantic poet John Keats; in an essay on Kenyon for Contemporary Women Poets, Gary Roberts dubbed her a “Keatsian poet” and noted that, “like Keats, she attempts to redeem morbidity with a peculiar kind of gusto, one which seeks a quiet annihilation of self-identity through identification with benign things.”