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The dog has cleaned his bowl
and his reward is a biscuit,
which I put in his mouth
like a priest offering the host.

I can't bear that trusting face!
He asks for bread, expects
bread, and I in my power
might have given him a stone.

—Jane Kenyon

from Otherwise: New and Selected Poems, 1996
University of Arkansas Press

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

Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press from Otherwise: New and Selected Poems. Copyright 1996 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. For further permissions information, contact Permissions Department, Graywolf Press, 2402 University Ave. Ste. 203, St Paul, MN 55114,

Poetry 180

About the Poet

New Hampshire's poet laureate at the time of her untimely death at age forty-seven, Jane Kenyon 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 Jane Kenyon at The Poetry Foundation.