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Table of Contents

11 Let Them Not Say * 15 The Bowl 16 I wanted to be surprised. 18 Vest 20 An Archaeology 21 Fecit 22 Day Beginning with Seeing the International Space Station and a Full Moon over the Gulf of Mexico and All Its Invisible Fishes 23 As If Hearing Heavy Furniture Moved on the Floor Above Us 24 Description 25 Ants' Nest 26 A Bucket Forgets Its Water 27 Questionnaire 29 You Go to Sleep in One Room and Wake in Another 30 Chance darkened me. 31 Some Questions 33 Today, Another Universe 34 The Orphan Beauty of Fold Not Made Blindfold * 37 Now a Darkness Is Coming 38 Words 39 Homs 40 She Breathes in the Scent 41 A Folding Screen 42 Practice 43 Cataclysm 44 Paint 45 Heels 46 Cold, Clear 47 Capital: An Assay 49 Falcon 50 Spell to Be Said Against Hatred * 53 Advice to Myself 54 Notebook 55 In Ulvik 56 O Snail 57 Branch 58 Without Night-shoes 59 The Bird Net 60 Corals, Coho, Coelenterates 61 To My Fifties 62 Brocade 63 Interruption: An Assay 65 My Doubt 67 My Contentment 68 My Hunger 69 My Longing 70 My Dignity 72 My Glasses 73 My Wonder 74 My Silence * 77 A Ream of Paper 78 Lure 79 A Moment Knows Itself Penultimate 81 Bluefish 82 Almond, Rabbit 83 The Paw-paw 84 Musa Paradisiaca 85 It Was as if a Ladder 87 Like Others 88 Husband 89 Wild Turkeys 90 Nine Pebbles 90 Without blinking 90 Like that other-hand music 90 Retrospective 91 Library book with many precisely turned-down corners 91 Now even more 91 Haiku: monadnock 92 A strategy 92 Sixth extinction 92 Obstacle 93 They Have Decided 94 Things Seem Strong 95 Dog Tag 96 Biophilia * 99 Amor Fati 100 Snow 101 Kitchen 102 Harness 103 Rust Flakes on Wind 104 Pelt 105 Wood. Salt. Tin. 106 I Said * 109 Ledger 110 In a Former Coal Mine in Silesia 111 Engraving: World-tree with an Empty Beehive on One Branch 112 (No Wind, No Rain) 113 On the Fifth Day 115 Page 117 My Confession 118 Ghazal for the End of Time 119 Mountainal 120 My Debt 125 Acknowledgements

About the Author

Jane Hirshfield was born in 1953 in New York and lives in northern California. Her first book of poetry published in the UK was Each Happiness Ringed by Lions: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2005), which draws on her collections Alaya (1982), Of Gravity & Angels (1988), The October Palace (1994), The Lives of the Heart (1997) and Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001). This was followed by four later collections from Bloodaxe in the UK, After (2006), a Poetry Book Society Choice, which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, Come, Thief (2012), The Beauty (2015) and Ledger (2020). In 2008 Bloodaxe published Jane Hirshfield's lectures Hiddenness, Surprise, Uncertainty: Three Generative Energies of Poetry (Newcastle/ Bloodaxe Poetry Lectures). Jane Hirshfield edited the bestselling anthology Women in Praise of the Sacred (1994), and co-translated The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono No Komachi and Izumi Shikibu (1988) - another bestseller in the States - and, with Robert Bly, Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems (2004). Her own poetry was translated into Polish by Czeslaw Milosz, who also wrote the introduction to her Polish Selected Poems. She has won numerous literary awards.


A profound empathy for the suffering of all living beings... It is precisely this that I praise in the poetry of Jane Hirshfield...In its highly sensuous detail, her poetry illuminates the Buddhist virtue of mindfulness. -- Czeslaw Milosz * Prze Kroj (Poland) *
From the opening poem, "Let Them Not Say", to the closing, "My Debt", the masterful ninth book [Ledger] from Hirshfield is an account of how "We did not-enough" to save the world. Most poems are no longer than a page, though some are considerably shorter ("My Silence" is only a title). They are set against a page and a half of prose in the middle of the book about "Capital" which, for the writer, is language "as slippery as any other kind of wealth". Through this juxtaposition, Hirshfield urges a reckoning of human influence on - and interference with - the planet. In "As If Hearing Heavy Furniture Moved on the Floor Above Us", she begins: "As things grow rarer, they enter the ranges of counting" and ends, underscoring humanity's obliviousness: "We scrape from the world its... wonder.../ Closing eyes to taste better the char of ordinary sweetness." Hirshfield suggests that people are unable, or unwilling, to comprehend their role in their own destruction: "If the unbearable were not weightless we might yet buckle under the grief." Hirshfield's world is one filled with beauty, from the "generosity" of grass to humanity's connection to the muskrat. This is both a paean and a heartbreaking plea. * Publishers Weekly *
Poems of quiet wisdom, steeped in a profound understanding of what it it to be human. * The Scotsman *
Her poetry is a rich and assured gift... an extraordinary intertwining of cherished detail and passionate abstraction...The poems' realised ambition is wisdom. -- Alison Brackenbury * Agenda *

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