05 March 2006

Jane Hirshfield

[from The Lives of the Heart by Jane Hirshfield]

The Roses of the Nag Hammadi Library

Dry summers,
the deer come down
to eat my roses.
Think of a rack made of roses.
Think of a hoof,
of the long and rose-colored
muscles of foreleg and shoulder.
A leap made of roses is easier,
over the fence like a vine.
When the boys hunting nitrate
broke open a jar in the mountains
and brought home some paper—
old, very dry—their mother, who could
not read, found it good kindling.
“Imagine the flavor,” my friend said,
but kasha is kasha. The rains come,
the deer slip back into the mountains
like hungry, rose-colored smoke.
They move mouthful by mouthful; pensive,
they slowly rise.


  1. Ah! I like this. Hirschfield is coming to read in Indianapolis later this month; if I can get away from work a little early that day in order to make the drive I hope to make it.

  2. I'm going to hear her this month at the Virginia Festival of the Book -- hope to read most of her oeuvre before then. Hard to move past each poem, they are so fine.