"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

03 January 2007


A poem from Donald Hall's collection Without (poems written about his wife, Jane Kenyon, concerning her illness and death), which for some reason especially struck me today:

He hovered beside Jane's bed,
solicitous: "What can I do?"
It must have been unbearable
while she suffered her private hurts
to see his worried face
looming above her, always anxious to do
something when there was
exactly nothing to do. Inside him,
some four-year-old
understood that if he was good -- thoughtful,
considerate, beyond
reproach, perfect -- she would not leave him.

(Alternate lines beginning with the first are indented, but I don't seem to be able to make them do this for me . . .)


GrumpyTeacher1 said...

He certainly captured that situation. Wow.

Cindy said...

I have read this book three times. I have yet to make it through without crying.