How Could You Not
-- for Jane kenyon
It is a day after many days of storms.
Having been washed and washed, the air glitters;
small heaped cumuli blow across the sky; a shower
visible against the firs douses the crocuses.
We knew it would happen one day this week.
Now, when I learn you have died, I go
to the open door and look across at New Hampshire
and see that there, too, the sun is bright
and clouds are making their shadowy ways along the horizon;
and I think: How could it not have been today?
In another room, Keri Te Kanawa is singing
the Laudate Dominum of Mozart, very faintly,
as if in the past, to those who once sat
in the steel seat of the old mowing machine,
cheerful descendent of the scythe of the grim reaper,
and drew the cutter bars little
reciprocating triangles through the grass
to make the stalks lie down in sunshine.
Could you have walked in the dark early this morning
and found yourself grown completely tired
of the successes and failures of medicine,
of your year of pain and despair remitted briefly
now and then by hope that had that leaden taste?
Did you glimpse in first light the world as you loved it
and see that, now, it was not wrong to die
and that, on dying, you would leave
your beloved in a day like paradise?
Near sunrise did you loosen your hold a little?
How could you not already have felt blessed for good,
having these last days spoken your whole heart to him,
who spoke his whole heart to you, so that in the silence
he would not feel a single word was missing?
How could you not have slipped into a spell,
in full daylight, as he lay next to you,
with his arms around you, as they have been,
it must have seemed, all your life?
How could your cheek not press a moment to his cheek,
which presses itself to yours from now on?
How could you not rise and go, with all that light
at the window, those arms around you, and the sound,
coming or going, hard to say, of a single-engine
plane in the distance that no one else hears?
Galway Kinnell's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (How Could You Not by Galway Kinnell )
- Over Time, Fatima Nusairat
- Truth is that, gajanan mishra
- FUCHSIA, Aminath Neena
- love is an 8 ball- it is decidedly so, Mandolyn ...
- Rising of a New Day Through Shine, Rohit Sapra
- Sad Cloud, ramesh rai
- I am carnival, Havilah
- Creative Musical Juces, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Finally Found Our Home, Michael McParland
- Distance doesn't matter, Antonio Liao
Poem of the Day
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Dirge, Ralph Waldo Emerson
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
- No Man Is An Island, John Donne
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
- Heather Burns
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)