Fragile Beauty

Fragile Beauty
A Tribute to Poet, Jane Kenyon

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

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.


It’s hard to believe that it’s been 3 years since Brian and Claudia opened the doors to dVerse Poets Pub and invited me to join them as a team member. These have been poetry-drenched years–an invitation to write more poems than I ever thought I was capable of, an invitation to drink deeply of the inspiring work of poets from all over the world and an opportunity to learn so much about the art and craft of poetry through the thoughtful work of my fellow team members and the reading/self-education that hosting compelled me to pursue.

Yesterday,  we were invited to write an ode to a poet.  For this second post, I’ve cheated a bit, following neither the proscribed form for an “ode” and by choosing a poem I posted a while back, based on the work of Jane Kenyon–an American poetess who died too young and who has mirrored for me the power of close observation–observation of nature and of everyday life.

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. It goes without saying that, along with Mary Oliver and Stanley Kunitz, Kenyon has been a huge influence in my own writing and my own living.

We hope you will join us at dVerse Poets’ Pub for the week-long celebration of our anniversary. It will be a “Ball”


24 thoughts on “Fragile Beauty

  1. Barry Dawson says:

    It does sound as if you Jane are somehow speaking with the same voice, and that gives this poem a certain vulnerability and tenuous enjoyment of what is — nature that surrounds and defines us. I greatly enjoyed reading this tender poem.


  2. The passion and fragility of life shines through…


  3. This is my first introduction to Jane Kenyon even though I originated myself from New England (DECADES ago). You’ve given me a wonderful path to experience the introduction. Not to mention, I’ve come to know you a little better Victoria, because of this opportunity to listen in on this authentic conversation you’ve so beautifully interconnected and expanded through Jane’s words.

    I do believe with all my heart we can communicate with the spirit of any poet from any time and place through the form you’ve used here. And as you have shown, these conversations are as revealing of that poet as they are of ourselves.

    Lastly, that photo GORGEOUS and wonderfully paired with this piece!


  4. You never cease to delight and amaze me. ❤


  5. Very lovely tribute to a fellow poet who passed too young..the details in observation are the keys to reading between the a poet thinks, feels, and writes outside the box.


  6. Linda says:

    Wonderful portrayal of the fragility, the beauty of life . . . and the certainty of death. A deeply moving piece, Victoria.


  7. Joseph Hesch says:

    Such a lovely and smart piece, dear Victoria. Immersive, natural, organic. An effortless and inspiring read, which shows me the care with which you wrote it. I’ve come to expect nothing less. Happy anniversary, Victoria! 🙂


  8. Myrna says:

    Lovely. I like the meditative feel to this, the setting in the end of day. it felt very real to me, sensitive and soft.


  9. kelly says:

    so beautiful… finding a loved one’s face in the dying light, what more could we ask for? Happy Anniversary!


  10. How beautiful!
    I read your words last night but I was too sleepy to heed them carefully and now that I have read it again and realized the beauty you bring forth through your verse, I would say… great writing indeed. 🙂


  11. Beautiful. You have inspired me to read this poet.


  12. i truly think poetry connects us to emotion and that makes it a greatest gift.. particularly as we any age without truly an age so old it has no number.. only death in i know all too well living in the richest of emotions and the most barren of numb too….
    AS long as there is heart of emotion..
    there is
    spirit..that lives on in the light of an eye and the heart of a smile..
    inspired as such..:)!by others who light a spirit2!:)!


  13. Glenn Buttkus says:

    “Thanks for all you do,” echoing Brian’s loving word hug, & I might add, “For all you are.”–for over the almost two years that I have sprinted over word landscapes dragging the sled of my shadow life, my darkest
    dreams, hook-latched with dust in sun rays, dancing dust looking like the sea of microbes beneath the microscope of our minds, you have been a rock, a way station, a hearth & sustenance throughout the yin &
    yang of years.


  14. rmp says:

    this is breathtaking. a wonderful tribute to a poet who obviously means much to you.


  15. Gabriella says:

    This is a beautiful poem that speaks to me, Victoria. I like the idea that we should consider ourselves as learners and that the faculty to observe details affects the way we live.


  16. Mary says:

    Victoria, this is a stunning poem. I like the idea that there are always new beginnings & also that we must breathe deeply of the tenuous life around us, enjoying it to the fullest while we can. On another note, how sad that Jan Kenyon died so young…but good that her influence lived on in you.


  17. I love the way you interspersed Jane’s verses in your poem, drawing and building from the inspiration. A beautiful tribute … and so true that love releases fear. I’m a fan of Oliver too, the other nature inspired poet you mentioned … and finding beauty in details. Thank you for your encouraging comment on my piece 🙂


  18. I thought this was a beautiful poem Victoria a great tribute and a poem laced with your own love and caring.


  19. claudia says:

    the power of close obseravation… i love when someone sees the details and can bring them alive.. have to check her out…


  20. Thank you for your delightful introduction to a poet I didn’t know.


  21. The way you bring Jane’s poetry in your glosa, makes it such a great tribute to a Poets.. Bringing life in your garden – lovely.


  22. brian miller says:

    it will be a ball indeed….smiles…

    love how the poems you chose both yesterday and today bring you back to your garden…to nature…i think that many of the answers lie there…in probing the center of nature we find things…an easy rhythm and so many truthes….

    thanks for all that you do v…


  23. Himani B says:

    This was such a beautiful read! Loved and savored every bit of this. Thank you ❤


  24. ” a poet who observed
    the details of each moment, giving birth in words
    as though a child to live its own life”
    What a wonderful descriptive phrase!


Your comment and feedback are important to me. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s