Counting, This New Year’s Morning, What Powers Yet Remain To Me
The world asks, as it asks daily:
And what can you make, can you do, to change my deep-broken, fractured?
I count, this first day of another year, what remains.
I have a mountain, a kitchen, two hands.
Can admire with two eyes the mountain,
actual, recalcitrant, shuffling its pebbles, sheltering foxes and beetles.
Can make black-eyed peas and collards.
Can make, from last year’s late-ripening persimmons, a pudding.
Can climb a stepladder, change the bulb in a track light.
For four years, I woke each day first to the mountain,
then to the question.
The feet of the new sufferings followed the feet of the old,
and still they surprised.
I brought salt, brought oil, to the question. Brought sweet tea,
brought postcards and stamps. For four years, each day, something.
Stone did not become apple. War did not become peace.
Yet joy still stays joy. Sequins stay sequins. Words still bespangle, bewilder.
Today, I woke without answer.
The day answers, unpockets a thought from a friend
don't despair of this falling world, not yet
didn't it give you the asking
Copyright © Jane Hirshfield. Used with permission of the author.