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.
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.