Poem of the month:




I want to give myself


as this maple

that burned and burned

for three days without stinting

and then in two more

dropped off every leaf;

as this lake that,

no matter what comes

to its green-blue depth,

both takes and returns it.

In the still heart,

that refuses nothing,

the world is twice-born –

two earths wheeling,

two heaven,

two egrets reaching

down into subtraction;

even the fish

for an instant doubled,

before it is gone.

I want the fish.

I want the losing it all

when it rains and I want

the returning transparence.

I want the place

by the edge-flowers where

the shallow sand is deceptive,

where whatever

steps in must plunge,

and I want that plunging.

I want the ones

who come in secret to drink

only in early darkness,

and I want the ones

who are swallowed.

I want the way

this water sees without eyes,

hears without ears,

shivers without will or fear

at the gentlest touch.

I want the way it

accepts the cold moonlight

and lets it pass

the way it lets

all of it pass

without judgment or comment.

There is a lake,

Lalla Ded sang, no larger

than one seed of mustard,

that all things return to.

O heart, if you

will not, cannot, give me the lake,

then give me the song.


~ Jane Hirshfield




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