Dear Ms. Hirshfield,

I read your poem, “The Weighing,” and I connected with it so much. I have been through several dark times throughout the sixteen years I have been alive. My heart was drowning in sadness just as you said in your poem. I really thought I would not be able to get over the pain I was feeling, but I did. I just had to let my heart forgive myself or others. Your first stanza explained what I experienced. The title of your poem caught my attention, and I was even more interested when I read your first stanza. I loved how you utilized the “drought-starved eland,” and the “drought-starved lion” to demonstrate forgiveness. Most people would not view that as something forgivable, but you stated it in such a beautiful and meaningful way that I could understand. The last two stanzas are my favorite part of your poem. You do not five people the false hope that life is all happiness and good. You let them know that there will be bad times. We will have to face sadness, pain, and suffering, but among all these bad times, there will be good times. We will also experience happiness and relief. I am going to think of the third stanza every time I experience bad times. It will help remind me that good times are coming to balance out these bad times. Your last stanza contradicted my beliefs prior to reading your poem. I always believed that we are only given what we can handle. I never thought that we are given what we can handle, and then we are challenged more. That made me think about my life and I realized how true it is. I would experience an obstacle, and do all I thought I could to get over it. Then, I would do more than that, and actually move on. You truly opened my eyes.

I love poetry. I love reading each line and deciphering the meaning of what I am reading. Your poem was amazing and will be something I will constantly refer to. How long did it take you to write this poem? I do not usually take too much time on my poems, and I wonder if that is why they are not as mature sounding and insightful. Did you easily dig into your heart, thoughts, and feelings to write this poem? I really would like to learn your thought process and how you obtain the ideas you write about. I would like to improve at writing poetry. Thank you for opening my eyes!


Grade 11
St. James, NY

P.S. I used your third stanza as advice for my friend going through a breakup. She appreciated your words just as much as I did!

dear poet letters