During April, it is my intention. . . to share some of my favorite poems and poets with you. Poems and poets that you may not be as familiar with, but that are still accessible and full of insight. Poems and poets I think you'll like.
Poems and poets like this one . . .
by Jane Hirshfield
Balance is noticed most when almost failed of --
in an elephant's delicate wavering
on her circus stool, for instance,
or that moment
when a ladder starts to tip but steadies back.
There are, too, its mysterious departures.
Hours after the dishes are washed and stacked,
a metal bowl clangs to the floor,
the weight of drying water all that altered;
a painting vertical for years
one morning - why? - requires a restoring tap.
You have felt it disappearing
from your own capricious heart --
a restlessness enters, the smallest leaning begins.
Already then ineveitable,
the full collision,
the life you will describe afterward always as 'after.'
Jane Hirshfield (one of my very favorite poets) is known for combining keen philosophical meditation with spare domestic observation; she often writes of turning points or moments of insight that resonate with readers. A prolific poet, Jane Hirshfield is also an essayist and translator, and she has published two important anthologies of poetry by women. Two interesting facts about Jane Hirshfield: She graduated from Princeton as a member of the first graduating class there to include women, and she took a break in her early career to study at the San Francisco Zen Center. You can learn more about her here.
The annual Poem-in-Your-Pocket day is Thursday, April 18 this year. Think about sharing YOUR favorite poem with your friends next Thursday.
The poem Balance is from Given Sugar, Given Salt, published by Harper Collins in 2001. Poem copyright Jane Hirshfield.