Evening Poetry, May 17

Works & Loves

by Jane Hirshfield

1

Rain fell as a glass
breaks,
something suddenly everywhere at the same time.

               2

To live like a painting
looked into from more than one angle at once —

eye to eye with the doorway,
down at the hair,
up at your own dusty feet.

               3

“This is your house,”
said my bird heart to my heart of the cricket,
and I entered.

               4

The happy see only happiness,
the living see only life,
the young see only the young,

as lovers believe
they wake always beside one also in love.

               5

However often I turned its pages,
I kept ending up
as the same two sentences of the book:

The being of some is: to be. Of others: to be without.

Then I fell back asleep, in Swedish.

               6

A sheep grazing is unimpressed by the mountain
but not by its flies.

               7

The grief
of what hasn’t yet happened —

a door closed from inside.

The weight of the grass
dividing
an ant’s five-legged silence
walking through it.

               8

What is the towel, what is the water,
changes,
though of we three,
only the towel can be held upside down in the sun.

               9

“I was once.”
Said not in self-pity or praise.
This dignity we allow barn owl,
ego, oyster.

You can find this poem in The Beauty.

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