Monday, June 24, 2013

Jane Kenyon: "Peonies at Dusk"

White peonies blooming along the porch
send out light
while the rest of the yard grows dim.

Outrageous flowers as big as human
heads! They’re staggered
by their own luxuriance: I had
to prop them up with stakes and twine.

The moist air intensifies their scent,
and the moon moves around the barn
to find out what it’s coming from.

In the darkening June evening
I draw a blossom near, and bending close
search it as a woman searches
a loved one’s face.

"Peonies at Dusk" by Jane Kenyon, from Constance: Poems. © Graywolf Press, 1993.

 Image credit: Unknown (originally color).



  1. Hello Phyllis, This is a lovely poem. I keep a sporadic journal and have used the same technique you so beautifully offer in your blog, verse and a picture. The deep reserve you reached into for this daily blog is remarkable. And your kind commitment to share through your blog is something that never even occurred to me. It was a great moment when I discovered what you had done. In my also sporadic journey through the days you have on offer I have again and again been struck by the images. Do you have image databases that you go to or are they, like your poems, just the accumulation of years of looking?

    Warm Regards,

    1. Hi, Dan! Thank you for your kind words. To answer your question, while I was doing this blog I just browsed the internet. It's amazing what's out there. I tried to credit people's work when I could, but to be honest, I probably shouldn't have used any of it without seeking somebody's permission. I simply didn't have the time to research all that, so I sinned bravely, hoping that if I gave credit, it would make amends. Anyway, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog and happy to hear that this is a technique familiar to you from your own journaling practice. Be well.

  2. I know what you mean about credits. There is no easy way. I think the publishers and image creators and aggregators are behind the digital curve. I think they could do much better if there was a mechanism like iTunes for poems and images: 99 cents for limited use in a blog or for use in a digital birthday card, say. I'd gladly pay. I do much the same as you. I try to be very careful about crediting for the limited use I generate.

  3. Yes! I always tell my students to credit all sources—but the unfortunate effect is that they often pick the first images that come up…I’d love a database beyond those curated by museums. There may be more in the 5 years since you published this piece—but as a teacher , I’m still looking…thanks for the post. So many poems I look up do not have something in alignment with the words. I have part of “Let Evening Come” as my first tattoo (at 50 years old!)


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