Late Self-Portrait by Rembrandt
The dog, dead for years, keeps coming back in the dream.
We look at each other there with the old joy.
It was always her gift to bring me into the present—
Which sleeps, changes, awakens, dresses, leaves.
Happiness and unhappiness
differ as a bucket hammered from gold differs from one of pressed tin,
this painting proposes.
Each carries the same water, it says.
Originally published in After (HarperCollins, 2006); all rights reserved. Copyright © by Jane Hirshfield. Used by permission of the author, all rights reserved.