Poem: The Task by Jane Hirshfield

The Task

by Jane Hirshfield

It is a simple garment, this slipped-on world.
We wake into it daily—open eyes, braid hair—
a robe unfurled
in rose-silk flowering, then laid bare.

And yes, it is a simple enough task
we’ve taken on,
though also vast:
from dusk to dawn,

from dawn to dusk, to praise, and not
be blinded by the praising.
To lie like a cat in hot
sun, fur fully blazing,

and dream the mouse;
and to keep too the mouse’s patient, waking watch
within the deep rooms of the house,
where the leaf-flocked
sunlight never reaches, but the earth still blooms.

“The Task” by Jane Hirshfield, from The October Palace.
Harper Perennial, 1994. (buy now)

Suzuki Harunobu Japanese, 1724-1770. The Poetess Ono no Komachi, 1767/68


Meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh penetrates to the heart of Buddhist morality when he urges us to “make peace right in the moment we are alive.” A cup of tea, poured with clarity, taken mindfully, can help heal the world, although it might require a decade of meditation in preparation.


One thought on “Poem: The Task by Jane Hirshfield

  1. I actually think I might possibly becoming a fan of poetry…enough to read more from this author. I’m so delighted to wake up this morning to find this post of yours. Great way to start my day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s