Jane Hirshfield Poems

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1.
Changing Everything

I was walking again
in the woods,
a yellow light
was sifting all I saw.
...

2.
Rebus

You work with what you are given,
the red clay of grief,
the black clay of stubbornness going on after.
Clay that tastes of care or carelessness,
clay that smells of the bottoms of rivers or dust.
...

3.
The Heart's Counting Knows Only One

In Sung China,
two monks friends for sixty years
watched the geese pass.
Where are they going?
...

4.
The Task

It is a simple garment, this slipped-on world.
We wake into it daily - open eyes, braid hair -
a robe unfurled
in rose-silk flowering, then laid bare
...

5.
The Weighing

The heart's reasons
seen clearly,
even the hardest
will carry
its whip-marks and sadness
and must be forgiven.
...

6.
Metempsychosis

Some stories last many centuries,
others only a moment.
All alter over that lifetime like beach-glass,
grow distant and more beautiful with salt.
...

7.
Da Capo

Take the used-up heart like a pebble
and throw it far out.
...

8.
Standing Deer

As the house of a person
in age sometimes grows cluttered
with what is
too loved or too heavy to part with,
...

9.
A Blessing For Wedding

Today when persimmons ripen
Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow
Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song
...

10.
The Envoy

One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.

Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his
body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.
...

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