Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It Was Like This

The words of this poem have not left my mind since I heard it read by Nancy Pearl on NPR yesterday. So profound yet so simply stated, so beautiful yet not in the least ornate. The remarkable lucidity of her expression must mirror the intensity of Hirshfield's feelings. Nothing less could produce such sparkling clarity of thought.

It Was Like This: You Were Happy
By Jane Hirshfield

It was like this:you were happy,
then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.

It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent - what could you say?

Now it is almost over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

It does this not in forgiveness -
between you, there is nothing to forgive -
but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

Eating, too, is a thing now only for others.

It doesn’t matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.


delunachick said...

i had the same reaction after hearing the poem on the radio. beautiful. thanks for posting the whole text.

Heartcrossings said...

delunachick - Thanks for stopping by !