Let Evening Come

To me, this is the most famous of Jane Kenyon’s poems, my first acquaintance with her, which made me so happy, I immediately copied it by hand into a notebook. I think it was in a collection of writings lent to me by an acquaintance, Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest, by Wayne Muller. In my notes I called this book a “syncretistic” gathering, but said that it still contained “lots of tidbits I wanted to record.”

In a review of a new book about poetry for those who “don’t see the point,” titled The Point of Poetry, by Joe Nutt, the reviewer Dr. Oliver Tearle says this about one use of poetry: “Many claim it has saved their life, or at least made them feel a little less low during dark times (Stephen Fry once picked Philip Larkin’s depressing poem ‘Aubade’ as one of the poems he turns to when feeling down, because simply seeing your own grim feelings expressed so deftly and movingly lifts the spirits by showing you what human beings can achieve with words).”

He well expresses one reason that I find some poems very nourishing. I’m surprised that I haven’t posted this favorite before; probably because one blogger or another over the years was sharing it already. But I found it again this evening in Poem a Day Volume 2, and I’ll just let my happiness spill over this time.


Let the light of late afternoon
shine through 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

11 thoughts on “Let Evening Come

  1. I am new to Jane Kenyon’s poetry and this is just exquisite. Thank you so much for the poem and for the reminder of poetry’s importance. It (poetry) has certainly been a guiding light for me throughout my life. I agree with Patriarch Bartholemew who has said that the church needs more poets.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your intro to this poem made it all the more powerful… will be handwriting it myself for discovering again and again. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve enjoyed this poem for years. I shared it with a friend who’d experienced a death in her family, and she was so taken with it, she copied it by hand and tucked it into the casket.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is not a poet I’d heard about but I enjoyed the poem. Also, I went to look up “Aubade” thinking I might share it with someone that I do share poems with from time to time but who suffers from very down times. Concluded I better not send that one on or I might risk depressing that friend even more.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m one of those who often don’t get the point. But I think it’s just like books. Some resonate with you and some don’t. To just say “I like all poetry” would be just as strange as saying “I like all books”. It has to be something that speaks to the individual. Sometimes that’s poetry and sometimes prose. But I really like this one! 🙂 Probably because the images she uses are things I love. It doesn’t hurt my brain to try to figure out what she’s saying, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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