“Our Lady of the Sorrows, Our Lady of Vulnerability”-Gregory Orr on Poet, Jane Kenyon

Poet, Jane Kenyon, died a young woman from leukemia in 1995 at the age of 47. She was a poet who was married to a poet, Donald Hall whom she met when she was his 19 year old student at the University of Michigan. Jane Kenyon suffered from depression and many of her poems address that illness, such as Having It Out with Melancholy: “And from that day on everything under the sun and moon made me sad — even the yellow wooden beads that slid and spun along a spindle on my crib.”  Kenyon wrote many poems about where she lived with Donald Hall in New Hampshire, Eagle Pond Farm which was, “… Built in 1803, Eagle Pond Farm was always “a poetry place,” Mr. Hall said. His grandfather raised sheep, cattle and pigs there, and harvested maple syrup. During the summers the young Donald would help him. He grew up loving the place, he said, “loving the landscape, loving the way people talked.”(NY Times, 8/19/07)

Jane Kenyon also translated the poetry of Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova. To learn more about Jane Kenyon, Bill Moyers made a documentary about her and her husband, Donald Hall, titled, A Life Together.

Jane Kenyon’s birthday is today.   

Otherwise by Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed

on two strong legs.

It might have been

otherwise. I ate

cereal, sweet

milk, ripe, flawless

peach. It might

have been otherwise.

I took the dog uphill

to the birch wood.

All morning I did

the work I love.

 

At noon I lay down

with my mate. It might

have been otherwise.

We ate dinner together

at a table with silver

candlesticks. It might

have been otherwise.

I slept in a bed

in a room with paintings

on the walls, and

planned another day

just like this day.

But one day, I know,

it will be otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on ““Our Lady of the Sorrows, Our Lady of Vulnerability”-Gregory Orr on Poet, Jane Kenyon

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