- Some Questions, and: A Bucket Forgets Its Water
Who first asked it?The sand or the footprint,the remembering or the forgetting?*
A house, a door, an hour— which is frame, which picture?*
Where found, old grief-joy,your salvage-yard windows and shutters,your emergency, your emergence?*
Me, you / us, them—whatmolecule cell creaturecame first to feel it?*
Was it painful?*
How came separation to chisel,to cherish, to chafe?* [End Page 37]
Hammock of burning carbonlife wove from,hammock life slept in,unraveling—
did you find us useful,interesting,comic?*
Will you miss them,the cruelty and hunger,the manatees and spoonbills,
awe's inexplicable swaying?
a bucket forgets its water
A bucket forgets its water,its milk, its paint.Washed out, reused, it can be washed again.
I admire the amnesia of buckets.
How they are forthright and infinite inside it,simple of purpose,how their single seam is as thin of rib as a donkey's.
A bucket, upside down,is almost as useful as upright—step stool, tool shelf, drum stand, small table for lunch.
A bucket receives and returns all it is given,holds no grudges, fears,or regret.
A bucket striking the mop sink rings clearest when empty.
But not one can bray. [End Page 38]
Jane Hirshfield is the author of eight books, including The Beauty. Her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the NEA, and the Academy of American Poets. A former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, she has been poet-in-residence with the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and the neuroscience department of the University of California, San Francisco. In 2017, she founded Poets for Science.