It even comes to the boulder.

I have read this poem so many times, and still feel that I’m not equal to it, I can’t hope to plumb its depths. In that way the poem is like its subject, which speaks to me of the grace of God, something of Himself He gives us even though we are undeserving, unworthy, dense as rocks. It falls in the form of joy or peace or repentance, and when you’ve recovered from the surprise, you want to bake a cake and give a party.


There’s no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.

It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

~ Jane Kenyon

7 thoughts on “It even comes to the boulder.

  1. Why it is always worth “living”, even in suffering. Happiness shows up in unexpected places. I love this poem…thank you for sharing.


  2. I desire to spend every single day that He gives me learning Jesus. I will clip this poem and read it over again, probably many times. His grace amazes me, and with all that is within me I never want to fail to be moved by it. And you are so right, the surprise is worthy of a grand feast.


  3. Isn’t it fascinating when poets make bold, odd statements? I know they do it to make a point, to wake the reader, to fill out a concept. But whoever thought that a wine glass would be tired of holding wine? Makes it sound like a butler, holding my coat for hours, uncomplaining. That was a fun idea, and I’m glad she shared it. I find it always surprising that happiness — a giddy joy and sunny view of life — are possessed by poor, beaten-down people as readily as wealthy ones. It proves that wealth has little to do with it. Although I do think that poverty has quite a bit of sadness and despair in it, whatever brand of poverty it is. Thanks for sharing.


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