Jane Hirshfield is masterful in this poem. I feel so drawn into the imagery. I identify with the sense that life is flashing past and I can’t take in but a fraction of it. I sometimes feel like a helpless bystander watching it happen.
There are days the whole house moves at a gallop.
Bookshelves and counters, bottles of aspirin and oil,
chairs, saucepans, and towels.
I can barely encircle the neck
of a bounding pen with my fingers
before it breaks free of their notions;
open the door before the dog
of lop-eared hopes leaps through it;
pick up the paper before it goes up as kindling.
Barely eat before something snatches
the toast from my plate,
drains the last mouthfuls of coffee out of my cup.
Even these words
before the blue ink track has dried on the paper,
they’ve already been read
and agreed to or flung aside for others I don’t yet know of,
and well before
I have dressed or brushed out the braid of my hair
a woman with my own shadow
has showered and chosen her earrings, bought groceries
and fallen in love, grown tired, grown old.
Her braid in the mirror shines with new ribbons of silver,
like the mane of a heavy warhorse.
He stands in the silence as if after battle, sides heaving, spent.
From “Given Sugar, Given Salt” by Jane Hirshfield