A Poem: Reading “A Day Comes” | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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A Poem: Reading “A Day Comes”

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A day comes
when the mouth grows tired
of saying “I.”

Yet it is occupied
still by a self that must speak
—Jane Hirshfield

I wish it was I
Who wrote this poem
Spare
Like a Japanese long sword,
Centered,
Focused on its purpose.

But someone else
Crafted and honed it.

I can make it my own—
I will write a translation.

But try as I might,
I am unable
To reforge this poem
In another language.
I find that its strength
Cannot be extricated
From its words,
From their multiple meanings
Melding and folding
Across the lines.

I will seize this poem,
Learn it by heart,
Enlighten my listeners,
As I recite it,
Cut through the ignorance
Of my opponents.

But what really happens
Is that the poem,
True to its purpose,
Slices deeply
Into my own
Self.

I gasp,
Laugh ruefully,
Watching the blood
Well up and run freely.


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