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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), New Hampshire's poet laureate at the time of her untimely death at age forty-seven, was noted for verse that probed the inner psyche, particularly with regard to her own battle against the depression that lasted throughout much of her adult life. Writing for the last two decades of her life at her farm in northern New England, Kenyon is also remembered for her stoic portraits of domestic and rural life; as essayist Gary Roberts noted in Contemporary Women Poets, her poetry was "acutely faithful to the familiarities and mysteries of home life, and it is distinguished by intense calmness in the face of routine disappointments and tragedies."

Learn more about Geraldine Connolly at The Poetry Foundation