Portrait of a Figure Near Water
Rebuked, she turned and ran uphill to the barn. Anger, the inner arsonist, held a match to her brain. She observed her life: against her will it survived the unwavering flame. The barn was empty of animals. Only a swallow tilted near the beams, and bats hung from the rafters the roof sagged between. Her breath became steady where, years past, the farmer cooled the big tin amphoræ of milk. The stone trough was still filled with water: she watched it and received its calm. So it is when we retreat in anger: we think we burn alone and there is no balm. Then water enters, though it makes no sound.
Jane Kenyon, "Portrait of a Figure Near Water" from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Graywolf Press, graywolfpress.org.