Shining Rock Poetry Anthology

Not Yet

by Jane Hirshfield

Morning of buttered toast;

of coffee, sweetened, with milk.

Out of the window,

snow-spruces step from their cobwebs.

Flurry of chickadees, feeding then gone.

A single cardinal stipples an empty branch --
one maple leaf lifted back.

I turn my blessings like photographs into the light;

over my shoulder the god of Not-Yet looks on:

Not-yet-dead, not-yet-lost, not-yet-taken.

Not-yet-shattered, not-yet-sectioned,


Ample litany, sparing nothing I hate or love,

not-yet-silenced, not-yet-fractured, not-yet-


I move my ear a little closer to that humming figure,

I ask him only to stay.


Please see our Book Review section for a review of Hirshfield's new book, The Beauty.

from Lives of the Heart (NY: HarperCollins, 1997), used by permission of the author.
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