The Promise

By Jane Hirshfield b. 1953 Jane Hirshfield
Stay, I said
to the cut flowers.
They bowed
their heads lower.

Stay, I said to the spider,
who fled.

Stay, leaf.
It reddened,
embarrassed for me and itself.

Stay, I said to my body.
It sat as a dog does,
obedient for a moment,
soon starting to tremble.

Stay, to the earth
of riverine valley meadows,
of fossiled escarpments,
of limestone and sandstone.
It looked back
with a changing expression, in silence.

Stay, I said to my loves.
Each answered,
Always.

Jane Hirshfield, "The Promise " from Come, Thief. Copyright © 2011 by Jane Hirshfield.  Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Source: Come, Thief (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011)

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Poet Jane Hirshfield b. 1953

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Time & Brevity, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Realistic & Complicated, Romantic Love

 Jane  Hirshfield

Biography

Award-winning poet, essayist, and translator Jane Hirshfield is the author of several collections of verse, including 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 The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Time & Brevity, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Realistic & Complicated, Romantic Love

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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