Sunday, April 02, 2006

wise and otherwise

donald hall & i talked here and there at bennington, but i was too shy ever to engage him in person with anything but either quick-solve poetic puzzlements -- so i wrote him a letter instead.

even his letters are suffused with the strong hall personality -- rascally, suspect, farmy, funny.
i think it was PBS that ran a documentary on the life interrupted with his wife jane kenyon, who died too too early (not that there's an on-time or too late). he has written so much abt her and their life. elegiac stuff is so often hard for me to swallow, but i was in this auditorium early in my grad school career with all these strangers and as i watched the documentary, i just cried and cried and cried. i had to leave.


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 birchwood.
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.

-- Jane Kenyon