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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Kenyon
Jane Kenyon
Jane Kenyon was born on May 23, 1947, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Objects
Tender Buttons [Objects]
by Gertrude Stein
A blurry photograph
by Martha Ronk
Amethyst Beads
by Eavan Boland
Before You Came
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Blue Hanuman
by Joan Larkin
Compendium of Lost Objects
by Nicole Cooley
No mode of excitement is absolutely colorless
by Mónica de la Torre
Orkney Interior
by Ian Hamilton Finlay
Postcards
by E. Ethelbert Miller
The Hammers
by Jericho Brown
The Things
by Donald Hall
What the Angels Left
by Marie Howe
White Box (notes)
by Laura Mullen
Woman in Front of Poster of Herself
by Alice Notley
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Private Beach

 
by Jane Kenyon

It is always the dispossessed—
someone driving a huge rusted Dodge   
that’s burning oil, and must cost   
twenty-five dollars to fill.

Today before seven I saw, through
the morning fog, his car leave the road,   
turning into the field. It must be
his day off, I thought, or he’s out
of work and drinking, or getting stoned.   
Or maybe as much as anything
he wanted to see
where the lane through the hay goes.

It goes to the bluff overlooking   
the lake, where we’ve cleared   
brush, swept the slippery oak
leaves from the path, and tried to destroy   
the poison ivy that runs
over the scrubby, sandy knolls.

Sometimes in the evening I’ll hear   
gunshots or firecrackers. Later a car   
needing a new muffler backs out
to the road, headlights withdrawing   
from the lowest branches of the pines.

Next day I find beer cans, crushed;   
sometimes a few fish too small   
to bother cleaning and left
on the moss to die; or the leaking   
latex trace of outdoor love....

Once I found the canvas sling chairs   
broken up and burned.

Whoever laid the fire gathered stones   
to contain it, like a boy pursuing
a merit badge, who has a dream of work,   
and proper reward for work.






Jane Kenyon, "Private Beach" 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.
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