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The Blue Bowl

Like primitives we buried the cat
with his bowl. Bare-handed
we scraped sand and gravel
back into the hole.
                           They fell with a hiss
and thud on his side,
on his long red fur, the white feathers
between his toes, and his
long, not to say aquiline, nose.

We stood and brushed each other off.
There are sorrows keener than these.

Silent the rest of the day, we worked,
ate, stared, and slept. It stormed
all night; now it clears, and a robin
burbles from a dripping bush
like the neighbor who means well
but always says the wrong thing.

—Jane Kenyon

from Otherwise: New & Selected Poems, 1996
Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota

Copyright 1996 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press. Copyright 1996 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. For further permissions information, contact Graywolf Press, 2402 University Ave. Ste. 203, St Paul, MN 55114.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Jane Kenyon (1947-1995), former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, was the author of four volumes of poetry. Her collected poems were published by Graywolf Press in 2007.

Learn more about Jane Kenyon at The Poetry Foundation