something out in the dark...


Jane Hirshfield

(Harper Collins, 2006)

Against Certainty

There is something out in the dark that wants to correct us.
Each time I think “this,” it answers “that.”
Answers hard, in the heart-grammar’s strictness.

If I then say “that,” it too is taken away.

Between certainty and the real, and ancient enmity.
When the cat waits in the path-hedge,
no cell of her body is not waiting.
This is how she is able so completely to disappear.

I would like to enter the silence portion as she does.

To live amid the great vanishing as a cat must live,
one shadow fully at ease inside another.


If you can only read one collection of poetry this year... let it be Jane Hirshfield’s After. Her poems prod, disturb, awaken – each page, an experience.

“To live amid the great vanishing” – That notion will carry me the rest of my life. Entering the silence – yes – is the way to develop most fully as identity, as writer, as being.


Poet with a Day Job said...

this went right through me:

"no cell of her body is not waiting.
This is how she is able so completely to disappear."

Oh how to be so meta present there is no friction...

ps: loving the Lynda Hull so far...

gemellen said...

ooh ooh thank you for reminding me that this is out there! love her.

Collin said...

I really like that poem. Thanks for recommending her new book.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the read Melissa. I knew you'd like Hull.

And goodness gracious, I'm going to give a test on the material, so you better start reading.

Collin, thanks for the read. It is a great poem, and there are 50 more just like that one in the book. She is phenomenal.

Christine said...

I love Hirshfield. On vacation I read one of her books over and over. Till it sunk in.

jenni said...

I love her poetry. Have every single one of her books. She's magnificant.

C. E. Chaffin said...

Great poem, great poet. My sister-in-law incidentally shares a horse with her in the Bay Area, though I have yet to meet her. How about posting one of your poems again, Sam?

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks Christine, Jenni, and CE.

CE, I no longer post my own work at the 10,000 blog, but do at the notebook blog.