April 30: Farewell, with poems by Jane Hirshfield and Simon Armitage

April 30: Farewell, with poems by Jane Hirshfield and Simon Armitage

Thank you for reading with us throughout April. For our final day, here’s a preview of poems by two writers whose books will be published this summer: Jane Hirshfield (from the forthcoming Come, Thief) and Simon Armitage (Seeing Stars).Their voices are quite different, their geographies far-flung (Hirshfield, whose poem appears first below, is a West Coast poet; Armitage is British and lives in England), but both poems lead us, in their distinct fashion, “unknowingly yet profusely onwards,” as Armitage puts it—acknowledging the broad and deep mysteries that great poems can bring within our reach in a way nothing else can.

Until we meet again over a new poem,

The Knopf Poetry Team

The Supple Deer

The quiet opening
between fence strands
perhaps eighteen inches.

Antlers to hind hooves,
four feet off the ground,
the deer poured through.

No tuft of the coarse white belly hair left behind.

I don’t know how a stag turns
into a stream, an arc of water.
I have never felt such accurate envy.

Not of the deer:

To be that porous, to have such largeness pass through me.

To the Bridge

The same bridge, in fact, where it had occurred to
him that the so-called Manic Street Preachers, for all
their hyperventilation and sulphuric aftershave,
were neither frenzied, credible or remotely
evangelical, just as the so-called Red Hot Chili
Peppers, for all their encouraging ingredients, were
actually no warmer than a baby’s bathwater and not
in the least bit diablo, whereas the Teardrop
Explodes, either by blind accident or through
careful purpose had kept every promise ever made.
Below him, the soupy canal acknowledged that final
thought with an anointing ripple then slouched
unknowingly yet profusely onwards.

Learn more about Come, Thief by Jane Hirshfield

Learn more about Seeing Stars by Simon Armitage

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