Matin (a poem by Ken McKeon)

It’s Christmas morning in Albuquerque and Ken’s poem “Matin” shares a good-hearted wish for a new morning to dawn on a tired world.  Where else to look but in the morning light and our daily reawakening from darkness?

It also reminds me of a French nursery rhyme that lingers in fragmentary fashion from my own childhood in Quebec:

Frere Jacque (brother Jack)
Dormez Vous? (are you sleeping?)
Sonnez La Matina (the morning is calling)
Ding dong dell (ding dong dell)–(my apologies to any true French speakers out there):
MATIN

The morning waited forever and then
It became itself, and it has stayed that way.
It shows no sign of stopping or even resting.

It is only itself, it is not like
A building ruined by time,
A big building, a tower, say,
Roofed by the turning stars,
That simply fell away much as our tears do
After an unbearable day or life,
It is passing, it is gone,
But the morning stays on.

And we wake in the shadows,
And we tremble so, for the chill bites
Our bare shoulders, and we wish
For daylight, we touch a memory
Beyond our grasp, but it slips away.

But there in our empty hands
The morning shows up,
Warm light on our seamed palms,
We read into it our eyes
And the room appears, the door,
We think of breakfast,
Of a growing boy,
He’ll be hungry when he wakes
As he will to the daylight,
Each and every day of his life,
And here now, always here, the morning.

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