The Clearing

(1996)

"The Clearing" is the second song of William Bolcom's song cycle Briefly It Enters, which sets nine poems of Jane Kenyon.

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The audio recording of "The Clearing" from Briefly It Enters, provided in the audio playlist to the right, is made possible through a collaboration between the Hampsong Foundation and SongFest. The performers are the 2012 SongFest Sorel Fellow Rachel Schutz, soprano, and Tomasz Lis, piano, and the performance took place at SongFest 2012 at The Colburn School. To listen, please click on the track name itself.

The Clearing

The Clearing
by Jane Kenyon


The dog and I push through the ring
of dripping junipers
to enter the open space high on the hill
where I let him off the leash.


He vaults, snuffling, between tufts of moss;
twigs snap beneath his weight; he rolls
and rubs his jowls on the aromatic earth;
his pink tongue lolls.


I look for sticks of proper heft
to throw for him, while he sits, prim
and earnest in his love, if it is love.


All night a soaking rain, and now the hill
exhales relief, and the fragrance
of warm earth. . . . The sedges
have grown an inch since yesterday,
and ferns unfurled, and even if they try
the lilacs by the barn can’t
keep from opening today.


I longed for spring’s thousand tender greens,
and the white-throated sparrow’s call
that borders on rudeness. Do you know—
since you went away
all I can do
is wait for you to come back to me.


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