Friday, January 15, 2016

Jane Hirshfield - 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.
Jane Hirshfield reads two short poems: "Of: An Assay" and "The Envoy."
audio  HERE
Text and audio source: Here

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