Given Sugar, Given Salt

by Jane Hirshfield

Paperback, , Harpercollins, List Price: $13.99 | purchase

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Title
Given Sugar, Given Salt
Author
Jane Hirshfield

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Book Summary

Through an expansive collection of complex poems, the author of Nine Gates explores questions of identity and aging, losses and gains, connection and solitude, and the increasing pressure of time in modern life. Reprint.

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Excerpt: Given Sugar, Given Salt

Given Sugar, Given Salt

Poems


Perennial

Copyright © 2004 Jane Hirshfield
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060959010

The Envoy

One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.

Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his
body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.

I don't know how either came or left.
Later, the flashlight found nothing.

For a year I watched
as something — terror? happiness? grief? —
entered and then left my body.

Not knowing how it came in,
Not knowing how it went out.

It hung where words could not reach it.
It slept where light could not go.
Its scent was neither snake nor rat,
neither sensualist nor ascetic.

There are openings in our lives
of which we know nothing.

Through them
the belled herds travel at will,
long-legged and thirsty, covered with foreign dust.

Continues...