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 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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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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