Tuesday, May 27, 2014

For what else might happiness be

Jane Hirshfield

I think it was from the animals
that St.Francis learned
it is possible to cast yourself
on the earth's good mercy and live.

From the wolf who cast off
the deep fierceness of her first heart
and crept into the circle of sunlight
wagging her newly-shy tail
in full wariness and wolf-hunger,
and was fed, and lived;

From the birds
who came fearless to him until he
had no choice but return that courage.

Even the least amoeba touched on all sides
by the opulent Other, even the baleened
plankton fully immersed in  their fate -

For what else might happiness be
than to be porous, opened, rinsed through
by the beings and things?

Nor could he forget those other companions,
the shifting, ethereal, shapeless:
Hopelessness, Desperateness, Loneliness,
even the fire-tongued Anger -

For they too waited with the patient Lion,
the glossy Rooster, the drowsy Mule, to step
out of the trees' protection and come in.

Page 45, 'The October Palace'

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