My new borrowed mantra: “You cannot write until you know how to inhabit your own experience” is from Jane Hirshfield. According to today’s Writer’s Almanac, she practiced Zen Buddhism for 8 years before returning to poetry.
Happy Birthday Ms. Hirshfield! This is her poem, Sweater. I hope to be “lengthened by unmetaphysical pullings on” like her sweater. Enjoy!
What is asked of one is not what is asked of another.
A sweater takes on the shape of its wearer,
a coffee cup sits to the left or the right of the workspace,
making its pale Saturn rings of now and before.
Lucky the one who rises to sit at a table,
day after day spilling coffee sweet with sugar, whitened with milk.
Lucky the one who writes in a book of spiral-bound mornings
a future in ink, who writes hand unshaking, warmed by thick wool.
Lucky still, the one who writes later, shaking. Acrobatic at last, the
elastic as breath that enters what shape it is asked to.
Patient the table; unjudging, the ample, refillable cup.
Irrefusable, the shape the sweater is given,
stretched in the shoulders, sleeves lengthened by unmetaphysical
“Sweater” by Jane Hirshfield from Come, Thief. © Knopf, 2011.
Wishing you a happy weekend,