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  • Some Questions, and: A Bucket Forgets Its Water
  • Jane Hirshfield (bio)

some questions

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

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.



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