Dave Denny: A favorite poem

Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon

“Let Evening Come” disarms the reader with its almost-familiar imagery and almost-folksy tone of voice.  Just beneath the surface of the poem, however, is something that I’m tempted to call existential terror.  The coming of evening is natural, yes, but ominous.  Like Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night,” it is a meditation on mortality.  For me, the poem almost functions as a prayer of consolation, a surrender in the face of the inevitable, into the arms of Comfort.  I also admire the poem’s subtle technique: its rhythmical structure and its mastery of rhetorical nuance—for example, the whole weight of the poem pivots on a single word: “so.”

Dave Denny
Professor of English, De Anza College
Poet Laureate, Cupertino



Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through the chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn.  Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass.  Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down.  Let the shed
go black inside.  Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid.  God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon
1947-1995

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1 Comment

Filed under Favorite Poem

One response to “Dave Denny: A favorite poem

  1. Bernie

    Thanks, CPL (Cupertino Poet Laureate)!
    I needed that!

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