The Envoy

by Jane Hirshfield

Original Language English

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.

No 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.

-- from Given Sugar, Given Salt: Poems, by Jane Hirshfield

<<Previous Poem | More Poems by Jane Hirshfield | Next Poem >>

View All Poems by Jane Hirshfield

Recommended Books: Jane Hirshfield

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women
Amazon or AbeBooks
Given Sugar, Given Salt: Poems
Amazon or AbeBooks
The Lives of the Heart: Poems
Amazon or AbeBooks
The October Palace: Poems
Amazon or AbeBooks
Of Gravity & Angels
Amazon or AbeBooks
More Books >>

The Envoy