01 April 2009

Wednesday with words

2009 National Poetry Month For the first day of National Poetry Month, I offer a poem by one of my favorite poets, Jane Hirshfield. This poem is from her collection Given Sugar, Given Salt.

This was once a love poem

-- by Jane Hirshfield

This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.

It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.

Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.

Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.

IT spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.

The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus.

Yes, it decides:
Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots.
When it finds itself disquieted
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them—one, then another—
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.


amy said...

Very nice.

Ah. Poetry month.

Ann said...

This is lovely.
I think I like poetry served in small bites.

KnitNana said...

Ah. Thank you for sharing that. I did not know the poet, and I really really like the piece.

Aunt Kathy said...

I think every month should be poetry month