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

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December 2010
 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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind

Poetic Terms Aphorism, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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