Jane Hirshfield

(New York / United States)

The Envoy - Poem by Jane Hirshfield

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.

I don't know how either came or left.
Later, the flashlight found nothing.

For a year I watched
as something - terror? happiness? grief? -
entered and then left my body.

No knowing how it came in.
Not knowing how it went out.

It hung where words could not reach it.
It slept where light could not go.
Its scent was neither snake nor rat,
neither sensualist nor ascetic.

There are openings in our lives
of which we know nothing.

Through them
the belled herds travel at will,
long-legged and thirsty, covered with foreign dust.

Comments about The Envoy by Jane Hirshfield

  • Bharati Nayak (11/13/2015 6:45:00 PM)

    For a year I watched
    As some thing-terror, happiness, grief?
    entered and then left my body- - - A deep, meaningful poem about our innermost and subconscious feelings that arise in us with out our knowledge.Poet writes- -
    There are openings in our lives
    of which we know nothing
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 23, 2013

Poem Edited: Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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