You lean toward nonexistence,
but have not yet become it entirely.
For this reason, you can still be praised.
The tree unleafing enters your dominion.
An early snowfall shows you abide in all things.
Your two dimensions are line and inclination.
though it incinders each mote of its object, itself is spare.
The late paintings of Turner
prove your slender depths without limit.
The beauty too of shakuhachi and cello.
“Winter darkness. Rain. No crickets singing.”
—You are there, pulling hard on the rope-end.
Remembering you, I remember also compassion.
I cannot explain this.
Nor how you live in a teabowl
or in a stone that has spent a long time in a river.
Nor the way you at times can signal your own contradiction,
meaning extra, but not by much—
“Brother, can you spare a dime,” one thin man asks of another.
Any room, however cluttered, gestures toward you,
“Here lives this, not that”
In logic, the modest “<” sign gestures toward you.
Your season is surely November,
your fruit, persimmons ripening by coldness.
Your sound a crow cry, a bus idling at night by the roadside.
Without apparent effect,
and so you are reminded of starlight on the colors of a cow’s hide.
Your proposition, like you, is simple, of interest only to the human soul:
vast reach of all that is not, and still something is.
Jane Hirshfield, “To Spareness” from After. 2006