True Tale: Preparing for Sleep

I discover the poetry of Jane Kenyon a few weeks after my father dies. I pick her Collected Poems at random from the library bookshelf and begin to read.
Nothing has prepared me for such a frank, yet delicate, appraisal of the world, and line by line I begin to weep.
Eleven years after my father dies, I am lying in bed, trying to prepare myself for sleep as Mrs. Hill, my high school English teacher, said I should: by letting good words have their way with me just before I turn off the light.
So I visit the nursing home where Jane Kenyon’s mother-in-law, a tired, wild horse, lies dying, and I hear her plead for the Master to come with a halter that He himself has fashioned, and lead the old horse home.
And I press a cookie to my forehead with Jane, to honor her dead mother-in-law (as well as the cousin who baked the cookie), because there is nothing else to do at a time like this.
What more can I ask than the gift of Jane’s good words for my lullaby this evening, when even the coyotes seem to be weeping for something lost?


Story © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More A Pantry of Prose at Poets United

Posted on March 3, 2019, in Pantry of Prose, Poets United, prose, true tale and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Oh, how I love Jane Kenyon, and the wise words of your English teacher. And then you took your story into magical realism and I found a wild horse, a compassionate Master, and coyotes weeping. Such fine story telling.

  2. “by letting good words have their way with me just before I turn off the light.” I think this shall stay with me. Nicely told.

  3. Oh my GOODNESS, I cant tell you how much I love this………..”when even the coyotes seem to be weeping for something lost.” What a WONDERFULLY told tale. I loved every word.

  4. I do love this… so much to be had from words… i need to hear a voice to fall asleep and would listen to be able to pass into dreams.

  5. Lisa at Greenbow

    Such a poignant tale with such touching imagery.

  6. Letting good words have their way, That is truly an amazing phrase, in your a deeply moving tale

    Happy Sunday
    THEN MOON SMILED: a haiku fiction sequence
    I did not link to PU today because i did poetry, still drop by

    much love…

  7. The tone is perfect for the story being told. Pain evokes words the digs into bone, shapes itself into feel(able) shapes, and leaves everything touched. The style brings to mind the prose of Sylvia Plath–all heart and hurt.

    Oh, and that cookie detail. I remember doing seemingly strange things when grief was so much for breathing without the help of something… special.

    I love this story (and your cleverness, too). 😉

  8. I am touched by your write!!

  9. Even the coyotes weep…I love the way you told this story of loss and poetry.

  10. This is deeply touching! Especially like; “by letting good words have their way with me just before I turn off the light.” This will linger with me for quite some time. ❤️

  11. I love the idea of letting good words have their way with you before you sleep–this is so moving–

  12. This is a very touching tale; and I like the idea that the words of the high school teacher are still remembered!

  13. A beautiful story! (And what a great practice, the good words before sleep.)

  14. A few weeks, eleven years, and then into the presence of the poet herself . . . I am transported. Moved.

  15. Poignant and wonderfully spoken, this tugged at my heart strings hard! That last line is breathtaking! I love this!!

  16. Susie Clevenger

    “letting good words have their way with me just before I turn off the light” Grief for the loss of my parents strikes me out of the blue and I will remember your story and the wise words your teacher spoke to you.

  17. Shaken by this–it is beautiful and quiet and moving.

  18. Kestril Trueseeker

    There are so many times I’ve let words have their way with me, and come out the other side far better for having submitted to their magic.

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