No Steps

By Jane Kenyon 1947–1995 Jane Kenyon
The young bull dropped his head and stared.
Only a wispy wire—electrified—kept us
apart. That, and two long rows of asparagus.
An ancient apple tree
blossomed prodigally pink and white.

The muddy path sucked at my shoe,
but I reached the granite step, and knocked
at the rickety porch door.
Deep in the house a dog began to bark.
I had prepared my Heart Fund speech,
and the first word—When—was on my tongue.

I heard no steps—only the breeze
riffling the tender poplar leaves,
and a random, meditative moo
behind me. . . . Relieved, I turned back
to the car, passing once more
under the bull’s judicial eye. . . .
Everything was intact: the canister,
still far too light and mute,
and metal boutonnières where they began—
in a zip-lock plastic sandwich bag.

Jane Kenyon, “No Steps” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by Jane Kenyon. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Collected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2005)

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Poet Jane Kenyon 1947–1995

Subjects Nature, Animals

 Jane  Kenyon

Biography

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 . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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