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Jane Hirshfield


As If Hearing Heavy Furniture Moved on the Floor Above Us


As things grow rarer, they enter the ranges of counting.

Remain this many Siberian tigers,

that many African elephants. Three hundred red egrets.

We scrape from the world its tilt and meander of wonder

as if eating the last burned onions and carrots from a cast iron pan.

Closing eyes to taste better the char of ordinary sweetness.


This poem first appeared in Washington Square.

Jane Hirshfield will read at the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, Civic Center Park, Berkeley, California, October 1, 2016. See calendar or the Watershed page for details.

Jane Hirshfield has published eight books of poems, including, most recently, The Beauty and Come, Thief. She’s the editor and co-translator of four books of the work of poets from the past and author of two major collections of essays, Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World, winner of the 2016 Northern California Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, and Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. She’s been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and she’s won a California Book Award, a Poetry Center Book Award, and the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. She lives in Marin County, California.


— posted September 2016
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