By Jane Hirshfield b. 1953 Jane Hirshfield Read the Q & A

A thing too perfect to be remembered:
stone beautiful only when wet.

*     *     *

Blinded by light or black cloth—
so many ways
not to see others suffer.

*     *     *

Too much longing:

it separates us
like scent from bread,
rust from iron.

*     *     *

From very far or very close—
the most resolute folds of the mountain are gentle.

*     *     *

As if putting arms into woolen coat sleeves,
we listen to the murmuring dead.

*     *     *

Any point of a circle is its start:
desire forgoing fulfillment to go on desiring.

*     *     *

In a room in which nothing
has happened,
sweet-scented tobacco.

*     *     *

The very old, hands curling into themselves, remember their parents.

*     *     *

Think assailable thoughts, or be lonely.

Source: Poetry (December 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2010
 Jane  Hirshfield


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, The Mind

Poetic Terms Aphorism, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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