personal favorites / poetry collections… Given Sugar, Given Salt by Jane Hirshfield / poem & video

Jane Hirshfield

Given Sugar, Given Salt
 
 
 

“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.

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.

Not 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.

~

Voices: An Afternoon with the Poet (a reading)
 

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~ by samofthetenthousandthings on April 21, 2012.

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