Edward Hirsch

I came across this post on The Elegant Variation awhile back when I was working on my blog project for my MFA. I made a note of it in my little red moleskine that I carry around with me and forgot about it. Well today, in true procrastinator style, I flipped through my little red book and was reminded of why I loved the following from Ed Hirsch:

Four Subjects for Poetry
(this is a list from William Matthews that appeared in a 2006 NPR interview with Hirsch)

“1. I went out into the woods today, and it made me feel, you know, sort of religious.
2. We’re not getting any younger.
3. It sure is cold and lonely (a) without you, honey, or (b) with you, honey.
4. Sadness seems but the other side of the coin of happiness, and vice versa, and in any case the coin is too soon spent, and on what we know not what.”

In the same set of notes, I wrote “More than Halfway…lovely!”

More Than Halfway

I’ve turned on lights all over the house,
but nothing can save me from this darkness.

I’ve stepped onto the front porch to see
the stars perforating the milky black clouds

and the moon staring coldly through the trees,
but this negative I’m carrying inside me.

Where is the boy who memorized constellations?
Where is the textbook that so consoled him?

I’m now more than halfway to the grave,
but I’m not half the man I meant to become.

To what fractured deity can I pray?
I’m willing to pay the night with interest,

though the night wants nothing but itself.
What did I mean to say to darkness?

Death is a zero hollowed out of my chest.
God is an absence whispering in the leaves.

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