Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I don't know what to do with my heart

Meeting the Light Completely

by Jane Hirshfield

Even the long-beloved
was once
an unrecognized stranger.

Just so,
the chipped lip
of a blue-glazed cup,
blown field
of a yellow curtain,
might also,
flooding and falling,
ruin your heart.

A table painted with roses.
An empty clothesline.

Each time,
the found world surprises—
that is its nature.

And then
what is said by all lovers:
“What fools we were, not to have seen.”

How true it is - 'each time, the found world surprises.' This new light, this spring light, keeps catching me off guard. I'm having trouble getting used to it. The way it swings into the kitchen so early. And the strength of it. The shadows, too.

Also, don't laugh, I'm having trouble getting used to the absence of snow, and what the snow does to light. It holds it and reflects it, and softens everything.

But here's what the spring light says to me: Try a Little Tenderness.

And even though I've yet to see a bud, that spring haze of new green, these words speak to me:

"Spring is a happiness so beautiful, so unique, so unexpected, that I don’t know what to do with my heart. I dare not take it, I dare not leave it – what do you advise?"

– Emily Dickinson, from a letter to Louise and Frances Norcross, late April 1873


  1. Now that's a very good question :) Please tell me if you find the answer.

    I got my copy of Asking last Monday. It's waiting on the piano rather impatiently for me to finish Calm Things... it may be waiting a little while yet as I have no intention of rushing. xo.

  2. Thank you for saying what you did about the absence of snow. It was a dreadful winter but right now I miss some parts of winter. I didn't know if I was just mad or mournful or what, but it felt crazy until I read your post.

    1. I always find it a difficult adjustment :)


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