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J A N U A R Y   1 9 9 6

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TWO POEMS

by Jane Kenyon






Hear Donald Hall read this poem (in RealAudio):

RA 28.8, RA 14.4

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

Also by Jane Kenyon:
Man Eating (1994)

Go to:
An Audible Anthology
Poetry Pages

DRAWING FROM THE PAST


Only Mama and I were at home.
We ate tomato sandwiches
with sweeps of mayonnaise
on indifferent white bread.

Surely it was September,
my older brother at school.
The tomatoes were fragrant
and richly red, perhaps the last
before frost.

I was alert to the joy of eating
sandwiches alone with Mama, bare
feet braced on the underpinnings
of the abraded kitchen table.

Once, I'd made a mark in the wood
by pressing too hard as I traced
the outline of a horse.

I was no good at drawing--from life,
or from imagination. My brother
was good at it, and I was alert
to that, too.






Hear Donald Hall read this poem (in RealAudio):

RA 28.8, RA 14.4

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

Also by Jane Kenyon:
Man Eating (1994)

Go to:
An Audible Anthology
Poetry Pages

SURPRISE


He suggests pancakes at the local diner,
followed by a walk in search of mayflowers,
while friends convene at the house
bearing casseroles and a cake, their cars
pulled close along the sandy shoulders
of the road, where tender ferns unfurl
in the ditches, and this year's budding leaves
push last year's spectral leaves from the tips
of the twigs of the ash trees. The gathering
itself is not what astounds her, but the casual
accomplishment with which he has lied.






Jane Kenyon died in April, 1995. Her collection Otherwise: New and Selected Poems was published in the spring of 1996. Her other books include The Boat of Quiet Hours (1986), Let Evening Come (1990), and Constance (1993).


Copyright © 1996 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; January 1996; Two Poems; Volume 277, No. 1; page 83.

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