Sunday, April 13, 2014
Poetry of Cancer--Jane Kenyon- Donald Hall
Jane Kenyon and Donald Hall: Poets, lovers, husband and wife. Both had cancer . Donald, much older, lived. Jane, much younger, died. But, both being poets, had the habit of turning their life experiences into poems. So we have poetry collections from each of them describing each turn and phase of their roles as caregivers and as patients. It’s fascinating to read them together and to trace the intrusion and trajectory of cancer through their loving—and sexy—marriage.
Here is a poem by Jane Kenyon when she is ill and Donald is her caregiver:
I saw him leaving the hospital
with a woman's coat over his arm.
Clearly she would not need it.
The sunglasses he wore could not
conceal his wet face, his bafflement.
As if in mockery the day was fair,
and the air mild for December. All the same
he had zipped his own coat and tied
the hood under his chin, preparing
for irremediable cold.
Coats, by Jane Kenyon