my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Empty and Filled

Standing Deer

As the house of a person
in age sometimes grows cluttered
with what is
too loved or too heavy to part with,
the heart may grow cluttered.
And still the house will be emptied,
and still the heart.

As the thoughts of a person
in age sometimes grow sparer,
like a great cleanness come into a room,
the soul may grow sparer;
one sparrow song carves it completely.
And still the room is full,
and still the heart.

Empty and filled,
like the curling half-light of morning,
in which everything is still possible and so why not.

Filled and empty,
like the curling half-light of evening,
in which everything now is finished and so why not.

Beloved, what can be, what was,
will be taken from us.
I have disappointed.
I am sorry. I knew no better.

A root seeks water.
Tenderness only breaks open the earth.
This morning, out the window,
the deer stood like a blessing, then vanished.

~ Jane Hirshfield ~

(The Lives of the Heart)

I am moved by so many portions of this poem, it is filled with so much to think about.... it is a bit overwhelming. For example, "tenderness only breaks open the earth." I think the point is that something as delicate as a root can break rocks by simply doing what it is intended to do. So what does that mean for me and how I approach life? 

I feel the idea of yin and yang made obvious in this poem where balance is maintained in everything.  I see the bittersweet irony in how life can be so painfully sweet and so perfectly tragic. How the beginning and end of each day is like a complete lifetime in some ways. Those are a few seeds of thought I took from it.

1 comment:

marie-josé said...

Jane Hirshfield writes the perfect poem here, with not a word out of place, not a dislocated light (or shadow). Both sides of the brain are involved (as well as alluded to), something I particularly appreciate, as she analyzes the process of aging, then makes it a meditation, and adds to it a tint of melancholy, even sadness. And the image / metaphor in the end, elusive, graceful, and just fabulous. I certainly don't feel empty reading this.