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S E P T E M B E R   1 9 9 7

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by Jane Hirshfield
Hear Jane Hirshfield read this poem (in RealAudio):

RA 28.8, RA 14.4

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

Also by Jane Hirshfield:
The Song (1986)
Within This Tree (1991)
The Love of Aged Horses (1994)
Lying (1994)
Three Foxes by the Edge of the Field at Twilight (1996)
Apple (1999)

Go to:
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Poetry Pages

She is working now, in a room
not unlike this one,
the one where I write, or you read.
Her table is covered with paper.
The light of the lamp would be
tempered by a shade, where the bulb's
single harshness might dissolve,
but it is not; she has taken it off.
Her poems? I will never know them,
though they are the ones I most need.
Even the alphabet she writes in
I cannot decipher. Her chair --
let us imagine whether it is leather
or canvas, vinyl or wicker. Let her
have a chair, her shadeless lamp,
the table. Let one or two she loves
be in the next room. Let the door
be closed, the sleeping ones healthy.
Let her have time, and silence,
enough paper to make mistakes and go on.

Jane Hirshfield is the author of two new books, The Lives of the Heart, in which the poem in this issue will appear, and Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, a volume of essays. Both will be published by HarperCollins this month.

Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; September 1997; The Poet; Volume 280, No. 3; page 56.

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