Friday, November 15, 2013

Jeanne Lohmann: "What the Day Gives"

Suddenly, sun. Over my shoulder
in the middle of gray November
what I hoped to do comes back,

Across the street the fiery trees
hold onto their leaves,
red and gold in the final months
of this unfinished year,
they offer blazing riddles.

In the frozen fields of my life
there are no shortcuts to spring,
but stories of great birds in migration
carrying small ones on their backs,
predators flying next to warblers
they would, in a different season, eat.

Stunned by the astonishing mix in this uneasy world
that plunges in a single day from despair
to hope and back again, I commend my life
to Ruskin’s difficult duty of delight,
and to that most beautiful form of courage,
to be happy.

"What the Day Gives," by Jeanne Lohmann, from The Light of Invisible Bodies: Poems. © Daniel and Daniel Publishing, 2003.

Photography credit: "Dance of the Migration," by Jan Piller (originally black and white).



  1. What a thought provoking poem. Can anyone point me to the source of the Ruskin quote?

    1. It comes from the title of his book THE DUTY OF DELIGHT.

  2. Thank you. I googled and googled, but still was unsure. Thank you for allowing this site to remain. I'm following all three years.

    1. It makes me happy to hear that the site is a great resource for you!


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