Was it Baudelaire who said, “Always be a poet, even in prose”?
I came to my current favorite poem, Jane Kenyon’s incantatory “Let Evening Come,” by hearing John Felstiner read it at a lovely gathering at SheWriter Marilyn Yalom’s house. I was sitting in a room of strangers working very hard not to start weeping in the silence after John read. Still, every time I read the poem and even though I’ve read it a hundred times by now, my eyes well with tears. Whenever I read from The Four Ms. Bradwells, (where I am blessed to have been able to include it in its entirety), it’s the part I most want to read. And always I wonder how the rest of that novel — my many thousands of words — could sit on any shelf beside Kenyon’s amazing few.
Do you have a poem that makes you cry, or laugh, or linger? Please do share it below, and help me (help all of us, I hope, no matter what we write) breathe it in with the hope that the words we breathe out will be stronger for the aspiring it inspires.
I’ve linked Kenyon’s poem title to the complete version at Poets.org, the website of the Academy of American Poets, because I know they respect poets’ copyrights. (It’s hard enough for poets to make a living without even without people pirating their work.)