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The Beauty


by Jane Hirshfield

Hardcover, 107 pages, Random House Inc, List Price: $26 |


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The Beauty
Jane Hirshfield

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A collection of original poems by Jane Hirshfield exploring the profundities and quirks of existence.

Read an excerpt of this book


NPR stories about The Beauty

'Windows' That Transform The World: Jane Hirshfield On Poetry

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: The Beauty

My Eyes

An hour is not a house,
a life is not a house,
you do not go through them as if
they were doors to another.

Yet an hour can have shape and proportion,
four walls, a ceiling.
An hour can be dropped like a glass.

Some want quiet as others want bread.
Some want sleep.

My eyes went
to the window, as a cat or dog left alone does.

I Wake Early

I wake early,
make two cups of coffee,
drink one,
think, go back to sleep,
wake again, think,
drink the other.

To start a day over
is a card game played for no money,
a ripe tomato,
a swimming cat.

Time here:
with milk and sugar,
big and unset as a table.

I wake twice.

Twice the window
unbroken, transparent.

Twice the cat's nose and ears above water.
Twice the war (my war)
is distant,
its children's children are distant.

Zero Plus Anything Is a World

Four less one is three.

Three less two is one.

One less three
is what, is who,

The first cell that learned to divide
learned to subtract.

add salt to hunger.

add time to trees.

Zero plus anything
is a world.

This one
and no other,
by each breath changed.

add death to life.

love without swerve what this will bring.

Sister, father, mother, husband, daughter.

Like a cello
forgiving one note as it goes,
then another.

Excerpted from The Beauty by Jane Hirshfield. Copyright 2015 by Jane Hirshfield. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.