Knopf Poem-a-Day: April 11, Jane Hirshfield’s “The Present”

The conundrum of time in all its aspects occupies Jane Hirshfield in her latest collection, Come, Thief.

The Present

I wanted to give you something —
no stone, clay, bracelet,
no edible leaf could pass through.
Even a molecule’s fragrance by then too large.
Giving had been taken, as you soon would be.
Still, I offered the puffs of air shaped to meaning.
They remained air.
I offered memory on memory,
but what is memory that dies with the fallible inks?
I offered apology, sorrow, longing. I offered anger.
How fine is the mesh of death. You can almost see through it.
I stood on one side of the present, you stood on the other.

Listen to Jane Hirshfield read “The Present” on the Knopf Tumblr.

Learn more about Jane Hirshfield’s Come, Thief.

Hear Jane Hirshfield read her work in Minneapolis, MN or Amherst, NY this month, and listen to a recent interview with Jane on New Dimensions Radio right here.

Excerpt from COME, THIEF © 2011 by Jane Hirshfield. All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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