Of Yield and Abandon

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A muscular, thick-pelted woodchuck,
created in yield, in abandon, lifts onto his haunches.
Behind him, abundance of ferns, a rock wall’s
coldness, never in sun, a few noisy grackles.
Our eyes find shining beautiful
because it reminds us of water. To say this
does not make fewer the rooms of the house
or lessen its zinc-ceilinged hallways.
There is something that waits inside us,
a nearness that fissures, that fishes. Leaf shine
and stone shine edging the tail of the woodchuck silver,
splashing the legs of chickens and clouds.
In Russian, the translator told me,
there is no word for “thirsty”—a sentence,
as always, impossible to translate.
But what is the point of preserving the bell
if to do so it must be filled with concrete or wax?
A body prepared for travel but not for singing.

Jane Hirshfield is the author of six books of poems, including After (2006) and Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001). She lives in Mill Valley, California.
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