Monday, September 12, 2005

It Was Like This

Jane Hirshfield is a prize-winning poet, translator and essayist born in New York, in 1953. Three of her poems were reproduced in a recent issue of Tricycle, the buddhist magazine. I would like to present one of them to you, because I think it's a perfect description of life according to the buddhist philosopy. I hope that I won't get in trouble with the copyright thingies.

It Was Like This: You Were Happy

It was like this:
you were happy, then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.

It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent - what could you say?

Now it is almost over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

It does this not in forgiveness -
between you, there is nothing to forgive -
but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

Eating, too, is a thing now only for others.

It doesn't matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.

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