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Finding a Long Gray Hair -- Jane Kenyon

Guest poem submitted by Hemant Mohapatra:
(Poem #1004) Finding a Long Gray Hair
 I scrub the long floorboards
 in the kitchen, repeating
 the motions of other women
 who have lived in this house.
 And when I find a long gray hair
 floating in the pail,
 I feel my life added to theirs.
-- Jane Kenyon
The first thing that struck me about this piece was the title. It held so
much more than what was apparent at first look. Memories, emotions,
sadness... The touching simplicity of the poem and the matter-of-fact way a
daily chore has been discussed and an ensuing thought process followed is
amazing. Being a regular trekker I usually encounter quite a few memoirs of
the past - sometimes an old dilapidated abandoned fort or a temple of ages
ago in the deep forest and some other times rocks that bear the marks of the
times they've been through. Each pebble has a story to tell and if you are
patient enough you eventually manage to get it out of them. Touching those
stones, you can easily feel that you are not the only one to have done that.
You know that once life had flourished where there's nothing more than
wilderness now. Sometimes it scares you - the fact that you are not alone
where you stand at the moment - but nevertheless, connecting to the past has
always been a humbling experience for me. Sometimes a piece of old rock can
teach you more about life than a dozen philosophers. Sometimes a single gray
hair can be the part of a thread of the most remarkable story you'd ever
come across.


[Biographical notes]

Jane Kenyon (1947-1995) was a well-known contemporary American writer. Born
in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she published four collections of poetry and a
translation of the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova before her untimely death
from leukemia in 1995. She was the recipient of numerous awards for her
poetry, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the PEN Voelcker Award. She
was featured with her husband, poet Donald Hall, on the Emmy-Award winning
Bill Moyers special, "A Life Together."

[Minstrels link]

Poem #474, Otherwise  -- Jane Kenyon

30 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Virani Salima said...

Beautiful poem..and even more beautifully described. Thank you for
this, Hemant.

Rosemary Timoney said...

Just a thought, but wouldn't this be interesting as a counterpoint to
Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"? Thanks for all the pleasure you share.
Rosemary Timoney

Coulard Todd said...

Who's Rosey?

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