Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jane Hirshfield: "A Room"

A room does not turn its back on grief.
Anger does not excite it.
Before desire, it neither responds
nor draws back in fear.

Without changing expression,
it takes
and gives back;
not a tuft in the mattress alters.

Windowsills evenly welcome
both heat and cold.
Radiators speak or fall silent as they must.

Doors are not equivocal,
floorboards do not hesitate or startle.
Impatience does not stir the curtains,
a bed is neither irritable nor rapacious.

Whatever disquiet we sense in a room
we have brought there.

And so I instruct my ribs each morning,
pointing to hinge and plaster and wood

          You are matter, as they are.
          See how perfectly it can be done.
          Hold, one day more, what is asked.           

"A Room" by Jane Hirshfield, from The Lives of the Heart. © Harper Perennial, 1997.

Photography credit: Untitled image by Getty found at this link (originally black and white).



  1. I read this poem out loud at a party and everyone cried and gave me a hundred bucks so now I came to thank the artist for the amazing poem that is great and also amazing

    1. I'm glad you and your friends found such power in the poem. Hunker down and stay safe. Deep peace.


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