The Woodpecker Keeps Returning

By Jane Hirshfield b. 1953 Jane Hirshfield
The woodpecker keeps returning
to drill the house wall.
Put a pie plate over one place, he chooses another.

There is nothing good to eat there:
he has found in the house
a resonant billboard to post his intentions,
his voluble strength as provider.

But where is the female he drums for? Where?

I ask this, who am myself the ruined siding,
the handsome red-capped bird, the missing mate.

Jane Hirshfield, “The Woodpecker Keeps Returning” from After. Copyright © 2006 by Jane Hirshfield.  Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Source: After (2006)

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Poet Jane Hirshfield b. 1953

Subjects Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Jane  Hirshfield


Award-winning poet, essayist, and translator Jane Hirshfield is the author of several collections of verse, including The Beauty (2015), a finalist for the National Book Award, Come, Thief (2011), After (2006), shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize, and Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001), a finalist for the National Book Critics Award, among others. Hirshfield has also translated the work of early women poets in collections such as . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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