To Make A Speaking Voice


Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon

A Friend Revisited

by Donald Hall

Beside the door
She stood who I had known before.
I saw the work of seven years
In graying hair and worried eyes,
And in a smile:
“Find in me only what appears,
And let me rest awhile.”

Though it had not been honesty
Always to say the sudden word
When she was young,
I liked the old disguise
Better than what I had heard –
False laughter on the tongue
That once had made all efforts to seem free.

I do not ask for final honesty
Since none can say
“This is my motive, this is me,”
But I will pray
Deliberation and a shaping choice
To make a speaking voice.

Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks

By Jane Kenyon

I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years….

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper….

When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me….

I am food on the prisoner’s plate….

I am water rushing to the wellhead,
filling the pitcher until it spills….

I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden….

I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge….

I am the heart contracted by joy…
the longest hair, white
before the rest….

I am there in the basket of fruit
presented to the widow….

I am the musk rose opening
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit….

I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name….