Let Evening Come

Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon

shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Let Evening Come

This is a comfort poem for me, especially read aloud – rhythmic, musical – it’s almost a lullaby. The movement from day to night is so consistent, so reliable, that I feel I can trust it, am held by it.

The images of beauty in the natural world are so simply and clearly presented, framed by the repetition of ‘let evening come’, that I can see and hear each one.

There is a slowing down that I feel as I read this and hear the invitation to ‘let evening come’. It evokes the inevitability of the ending of a day and perhaps also even the ending of life.

Who/whatever God may be for you, she tells us not to be afraid, that we will not be left comfortless. And though I can’t say why, I believe her assurance and find comfort in her words.

What about you? Reading this, can you trust you are not alone and not resist the ending of the day?

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