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The Promise by Jane Hirshfield

I think I embarrassed myself last night. Oh, T. Why do you have to open your mouth?

The Promise
Jane Hirshfield

Stay, I said
to the cut flowers.
They bowed
their heads lower.

Stay, I said to the spider,
who fled.

Stay, leaf.
It reddened,
embarrassed for me and itself.

Stay, I said to my body.
It sat as a dog does,
obedient for a moment,
soon starting to tremble.

Stay, to the earth
of riverine valley meadows,
of fossiled escarpments,
of limestone and sandstone.
It looked back
with a changing expression, in silence.

Stay, I said to my loves.
Each answered,

Comments (1)

  • What? Why be embarrassed for speaking the truth? I think you do others the service of sharing concerns everyone has, even Jane Hirshfield. Over and over the same questions persist, and poems help us work out the problems life poses. I for one am grateful.


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