Fragile Beauty–A Glosa

Fragile Beauty

A Tribute to Jane Kenyon

Jane Kenyon

Jane Kenyon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the darkening June evening
I draw a blossom near and drawing close
search it as a woman searches
a loved one’s face.

Jane Kenyon
“Peonies at Dark”

As night approaches
we sit in silence
sipping beauty in our garden.
Sparrows feed greedily
as hummingbirds circle our heads
before approaching the nectar, descending
to drink deeply in the waning light.
The heavy mood forgotten
we look to new beginnings
in the darkening June evening.

You turn to me.
I sigh and take your hand
and in the taking release fear.
You are there, and in the night
you remain my light.
The answer to my questions, no one knows.
So now we trust in new beginnings.
You lead me to a fading flower,
lift up its fragrance to my nose.
I draw a blossom near and drawing close

inhale its dying beauty
breath deeply of its tenuous life.
What lies ahead will surely hold our deaths,
another reminder of fragility,
nature’s stunning beauty.
Throughout our lives we live as learner,
probe the center of a flower as though
it holds truth’s secrets, and it does.
I pull the blossom close now and in the shadow of our birch
search it as a woman searches

to know the love she shares,
the lives she touches day-by-day.
I think of Jane, a poet who observed
the details of each moment, giving birth in words
as though a child to live its own life.
Too short her own, and harsh her earthly race
to happiness. Preoccupied with death, like her,
I turn to whom I love and cherish all I know
of gentleness, of care. And in the space
(I find) a loved one’s face.

Photo Credit: Denver Landscaping Network

Photo Credit: Denver Landscaping Network

Jane Kenyon, 1947-1995, grew up and lived her early life in Michigan, moving later to New England. Her poetry is simple and emotionally evocative. In the reading, one discovers a story of her too brief life, told in exquisite detail. Kenyon battled depression off and on, lived for her family, and died of leukemia. The theme of death weaves through her work. She was also a proficient translator of Russian poetess, Anna Akhmatova.

In this poem, I’m not always sure where Jane begins and I end. I’m linking this to Sam Peralta’s excellent prompt for dVerse Form for All, in which he explains the difficult, but rewarding form of the Glosa. I suggest you head on over and read all about it. You may be a bit late to write and post one of your own, but there’s always Open Link Night!

21 thoughts on “Fragile Beauty–A Glosa

  1. Jamie Dedes says:

    Not that familiar with Jane Kenyon’s work but am enamoured of Anna Akhmatova work and life.

    I like this much … for its structure and controlled cadence. Lovely. Moving.


  2. Magnificent control and structure of thought in brilliant vocabulary that provokes the heart and head to join! Blessings ~ Deborah


  3. Hi Victoria, just wanted to say this is lovely, it flows easy and rings of emotion. You have done a beautiful job weaving your voice with hers. Loved this. (BTW, wrote mine to late, so will be sharing at OLN. I too, chose a piece with a similar emotional feel.)


  4. Lydia says:

    This is so deeply beautiful. You understand her, that is clear, and your tribute to her is as wistful as blossom-scented air. (Besides that, you also described a scene similar to my yard: hummingbirds buzzing at dusk, the peonies, the birch!)


  5. wolfsrosebud says:

    just beautiful victoria… as if you knew the poet and shared a part of her heart


  6. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) says:

    Very beautiful, and seems to incorporate the cabeza so naturally.


  7. Both Jane Kenyon and Anna Akhmatova are touchstones for me, and there are aspects of both writers in this delicate piece – notwithstanding Kenyon’s words in the cabeza. You progress the glosa with such emotionality that one cannot help but feel what you feel, know what you know, a certitude in that encroaching darkness that there is a light, that there will always be beside you a cherished and faithful love. Beautifully done.


  8. Dick Jones says:

    A most effective communion with the Jane Kenyon stimulus.


  9. nico says:

    Thanks for this–Kenyon is one of my favorite poets (I think she’s better than her more famous husband Don Hall!). Preoccupied with death. This can leave one either morbid, or aware of present beauty, determined to take as much happiness out of what life we have. Nicely done!


  10. rmp says:

    this is stunning and beautiful. you weaved quite a spell as you transformed the opening lines.


  11. claudia says:

    this is written with such a sensitive and tender voice.. so moving and touching with all the questions, the little things along the way that give us hope, that help us trust and make us see the beauty..really beautifully written victoria


  12. viv blake says:

    You have paid a worthy tribute to Jane Kenyon with this excellently crafted glosa. I was there with you in the garden.


  13. I love this piece, how it blended the life of your poet, the short lived flower, our own mortality. Really a strong piece but put in the softest of words.


  14. Miriam E. says:

    Victoria, this is beautiful work. I love where you took me… the scents, the images… wonderful. A treat for the senses wrapped in a great form.


  15. kaykuala says:

    1.A beautiful tribute to Jane. It’s a tragedy that she passed on so young
    2.Very smooth flow, Victoria! The words blend very well throughout.

    Had some problems with my connections. The correct one is



  16. Thank you for introducing me to her Victoria ~ I love the weaving of your words specially the third stanza ~ There is joy and love in embracing the fraility of our ripening age ~ Beautiful work ~


  17. seingraham says:

    What a splendid glosa and tribute to Kenyon; often it was easy to lose myself in the words and not notice when yours ended and Kenyon’s began and vice-versa. I can see why your affinity runs deep. Such gorgeous artwork to go with also…thanks too for the back story on Kenyon; I love her work but didn’t know much about her at all.


  18. Rowan Taw says:

    Your words blend together so well, and I get a sense of the evening reflection…I’m also envious, as I’ve always wanted to see a hummingbird!


  19. janehewey says:

    the soft beauty of friendship, the soft (and I know it can be harsh but here, it seems soft to me) beauty of dying. I can see why you wonder where she ends and you start. You’ve merged so gently. so compassionately.


  20. scillagrace says:

    I’ve often wondered what the poet looked like, as my daughter’s godmother is also named Jane Kenyon. And I do have photographs of peonies because they do grow here in Wisconsin!


  21. brian miller says:

    The answer to my questions, no one knows…..smiles…like that…and the fragile beauty that you bring to your nose and reminds us of life as well…a realization such as this certainly leads to cherishing…well played to form victoria…


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