It’s barely 5:00 am and I am out walking with my dog. The waning moon provides gentle illumination as we move in silence down the dirt road. We are in no hurry. As we near the open fields the crickets get louder. Their chirping adds to the ambiance of the moment. We stop to listen.
Back at home, I take off my coat and place it on the wooden coat rack. I turn on the lamp in the corner and walk toward the bookshelf where I pull off a copy of Tom Hennen’s Darkness Sticks to Everything. I begin searching for a poem that might capture this moment. I feel that this moment is filled with a sense of ease and gratitude for the ordinary.
It doesn’t take me but a second to find the poem. A torn scrap of paper held the page as if it knew I needed to revisit this verse. I stand in the dimly lit room and read.
“Love For Other Things”
It's easy to love a deer But try and care about bugs and scrawny trees Love the puddle of lukewarm water From last week’s rain. Leave the mountains alone for now. Also the clear lakes surrounded by pines. People are lined up to admire them. Get close to the things that slide away in the dark. Be grateful even for the boredom That sometimes seems to involve the whole world Think of the frost That will crack our bones eventually.
I pause, read the poem again, and then a third time.
Yes, that was what I was looking for. Love for the other things, the simple things, because those are the things that make up everyday life. Find joy in these moments and find joy in living.
About Tom Hennen
Tom Hennen was born in 1942 and spent his early years on farms in Minnesota. In 1965, he began work as a letterpress and offset printer. In 1972, he helped establish the Minnesota Writers’ Publishing House out of his garage. He published his first chapbook, The Heron with No Business Sense, in 1974. He went on to publish five other books and chapbooks. Darkness Sticks to Everything is a collection of his previous work with some new poems.
Hennen’s poetry is deeply influenced by the natural world. He writes about the weather, flora, fauna, and his relationship with his surroundings. Thomas R. Smith describes Hennen’s style as “level, almost Taoist, with a tempered knowledge of self and world. Hennen avoids poetic fashion and speaks without pretension, though not unmusically, of an ancient way of being on and with the earth.”(2) I find his work amazingly grounding and relatable. I read Hennen’s poetry and say to myself, “This is poetry that works for me”.
Hennen is one of those poets we return to when we long to release what attracted us to poetry in the first placeThomas R. Smith
Do you have a favorite poet? A poet that seems to speak directly to you? Feel free to share below.
- Hennen, Tom. (2013) Darkness Sticks to Everything
- Smith, Thomas R., “A Poet with No Business Sense: In Praise of Tom Hennen”, Darkness Sticks to Everything. pg.173
- Hennen, Tom. (1974) The Heron with No Business Sense
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