my birthday present

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

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Looking back

I had to read this one more than once! I really enjoy the challenge of Jane Hirshfield's poems.... though many are well above my understanding. For me, this poem is about looking back at all those good intentions, those plans and desires that you imagined to be central to your core of being, and realizing that those things aren't so important after all. It's about not recognizing the person you used to be. And maybe having no regret in that discovery?

Dream Notebook
Jane Hirshfield 

What will become of these

my many lives,

abandoned each morning abruptly to their own fates?  

Of the fox who stopped to look up at me,

bright death stippling her muzzle,

and announced--clearly, simply--"I was hungry"?

Of the engine left half-disassembled,

the unmendable roofleaks, the waiting packed bags? 

Cloudbellies of horses drinking at sunset.

Fierce embraces remembered half a day if at all.

Even the bedside jar of minute and actual seashells

wavers and thins--

though each was lifted, chosen,

I no longer recall if it was in joy or distraction,

in foreknowledge or false belief. 

How much more elusive, these half-legible scribblings.

If souvenirs at all, they are someone else's.

As each of my memories,

it seems, is destined to be someone else's,

to belong to a woman who

looks faintly like me and whom I wish well,

as one would any stranger passed in a shop, on the street.


marie-josé said...

This is said gently, but it is a tough, tough piece. I read very little hope within that poem. I presume it addresses aging ---the loss of memory, a sense that one doesn't matter. But I feel the poet is in the midst of a depression here.

Loretta said...

I did not find the poem to be depressing. I can not remember all of the wonderful moments of my life, but I treasure what I do remember. I become a new woman almost every day. Who I was as a child is not who I am today but I love that little girl. I sense a security in letting go the past, but not mourning loss of the past. The past made me who I am today, so I don't need to remember all of it. The unforgettable moments in my life such as seeing the reflections of horses enjoying the simple pleasure of water are now part of who I am. I feel that I have shared myself with others so that when it is time to leave nothing will be lost.

That is how I felt as I read the poem.