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The Heat of Autumn


The heat of autumn

is different from the heat of summer.

One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.

One is a dock you walk out on,

the other the spine of a thin swimming horse

and the river each day a full measure colder.

A man with cancer leaves his wife for his lover.

Before he goes she straightens his belts in the closet,

rearranges the socks and sweaters inside the dresser

by color. That’s autumn heat:

her hand placing silver buckles with silver,

gold buckles with gold, setting each

on the hook it belongs on in a closet soon to be empty,

and calling it pleasure.



The Heart’s Counting Knows Only One


In Sung China,

two monks friends for sixty years

watched the geese pass.

Where are they going?

one tested the other, who couldn’t say.

That moment’s silence continues.

No one will study their friendship

in the koan-books of insight.

No one will remember their names.

I think of them sometimes,

standing, perplexed by sadness,

goose-down sewn into their quilted autumn robes.

Almost swallowed by the vastness of the mountains,

but not yet.

As the barely audible

geese are not yet swallowed;

as even we, my love, will not entirely be lost.

Jane Hirshfield is a well-known American poet who lives in the Bay Area. “The Heart’s Counting Knows Only One” is from The Lives of the Heart; “The Heat of Autumn” is from After. Both poetry collections are published by Harper Collins and the poems are used with permission. The author’s photograph is by Mark Moffett.

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Comments

nan shartel Sept. 18, 2010 @ 12:50 p.m.

this more then resonated with me


A man with cancer leaves his wife for his lover.

Before he goes she straightens his belts in the closet,

rearranges the socks and sweaters inside the dresser


both women are tough and ambitiously plan the shortfall

kudos


the second poem is a heartfelt needful thing

again kudos

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Founder Sept. 18, 2010 @ 5:45 p.m.

  • The Poets Trick -

I ask, "How can it be?" Reading what others see

Choosing their words so well Sure makes their Poetry swell

I'm sure it is something I lack Because when I write I'm a hack

But I don't let that get me down unless it makes all of you frown

Rhyming is not as easy as it looks even though it's found in hundreds of books

So I continue to struggle with each word I pick In the hopes that very soon I'll learn The Poets Trick

Writing words that make folks laugh, cry or just sigh is something that I think everyone should try

Writing out our "thought feelings" usually makes one feel Great And shifts both the Reader and Writer into a new State.

0

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