No matter what has happened in the past few months, the Academy of American Poets has been there. I was so impressed by their Shelter in Poems theme for National Poetry Month this year, whipped up at the last minute but full of comfort. And now they are gamely sending out their Back to School emails, just as though it were a regular year and not a morass of confusion.
In the Back to School email was this Jane Kenyon poem. I read and reflected on summers gone by, in Kenyon's life and my own. I need to write my own version for this year, but I don't have time right now because I'm busily learning all new software for this year, and reading all the new books I have to teach in this new curriculum that's going to make things easier (so they tell me) while our lives are upended by COVID and - oh yeah - all the other crises Haiti was already going through.
And by the way, I just got out of the hospital. It wasn't COVID but a vitamin B12 deficiency, and correcting it has made me feel a thousand percent better in every way. Everything's just as much of a mess as before, but I feel much more able to cope, both physically and emotionally. I'm not completely back to normal yet, but this new health and strength is a gift I receive with gratitude. And I need to write about that too (I did write this already), but not today. So here is Jane Kenyon's poem. I noticed at the top of the page that she didn't live as long as I already have. Every day is a gift, especially here at the end of summer, and the beginning of who knows what.
Three Songs at the End of Summer
by Jane Kenyon
A second crop of hay lies cut
and turned. Five gleaming crows
search and peck between the rows.
They make a low, companionable squawk,
and like midwives and undertakers
possess a weird authority.