Jun. 12, 2002

Let Evening Come

by Jane Kenyon

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Poem: "Let Evening Come," by Jane Kenyon from Otherwise: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press).

Let Evening Come

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.

On this day in 1991, Boris Yeltsin became Russia's first popularly elected leader. He led a field of five major candidates to capture fifty-seven per cent of the popular vote for the presidency of the newly created Russian Federation.

It's the birthday of novelist Rona Jaffe, born in New York City (1932). She was still in her twenties when she published her first novel, The Best of Everything (1958), about a group of young women trying to catch husbands and make a living in New York City. The novel set the tone for her later novels, including Family Secrets (1974) and Class Reunion (1978).

It's the birthday of Anne Frank, born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany (1929). She fled Nazi Germany with her family in 1933 and settled in Amsterdam. In 1940, the Nazis occupied Holland, and in 1942 began deporting Dutch Jews to concentration camps. On her thirteenth birthday-June 12, 1942-Anne was given a diary, which she took with her when she and her family were forced into hiding a month later. They hid for two years in small rooms hidden behind her father's office. Throughout her time in hiding, Anne confided to her diary. She wrote: "Sometime this terrible war will be over. Surely the time will come when we are people again, and not just Jews." She made her final entry in the diary on August 1, 1944. Three days later, the hiding place was discovered by the Gestapo, and Anne and her family were deported to Auschwitz. Anne was later moved to Bergen-Belsen, where she died of typhus in March 1945, two months before Holland was liberated. Of the Frank family, only Anne's father, Otto, survived. In 1947, he published his daughter's diary, which had been rescued from the floor of the secret room. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was published in English in 1953. In it, Anne Frank wrote: "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are truly good at heart."

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