Jane Kenyon

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How does the speaker in "Let Evening Come" want the late afternoon light to shine?

Quick answer:

In Jane Kenyon's "Let Evening Come," the speaker wants the light of the late afternoon to "shine through chinks in the barn" and slowly illuminate the bales.

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In the poem "Let Evening Come," the speaker invites and welcomes the coming of evening through several vivid images. She begins by inviting the late-afternoon light to "shine through chinks in the barn" and to move slowly "up the bales" of hay as "the sun moves down." This is a beautiful yet homey image that many readers can relate to. We've all watched a beam of sunlight move across something in our environment. The barn here points to a country setting.

The speaker continues to invite other things to signal the approach of evening. The cricket should start making noise. The woman takes up her knitting. Dew forms on a hoe that someone dropped in the grass after work. The stars and moon appear. The fox goes into "its sandy den." The wind dies down, and the shed's interior turns black. Indeed, evening descends upon everything, from a bottle to the very air. But the speaker is not afraid. Even as evening arrives, "God does not leave us / comfortless ..."

Notice the poem's calm, soothing tone that is enhanced by its repetitive stanzas. It almost becomes a lullaby of sorts, even in the midst of its vivid imagery. Indeed, the speaker welcomes the arrival of evening while noticing its effects and beautifully describing them.

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