But with the sentence: "Use your failures for paper." Meaning, I understood, the backs of failed poems, but also my life. Whose far side I begin now to enter— A book imprinted without seeming season, each blank day bearing on its reverse, in random order, the mad-set type of another. December 12, 1960. April 4, 1981. 13th of August, 1974— Certain words bleed through to the unwritten pages. To call this memory offers no solace. "Even in sleep, the heavy millstones turning." I do not know where the words come from, what the millstones, where the turning may lead. I, a woman forty-five, beginning to gray at the temples, putting pages of ruined paper into a basket, pulling them out again.
by Jane Hirshfield, 2001
Sometimes, just the right poem comes along, and often Jane Hirschfield's words have stumbled into my path exactly when I needed them. This one - though a prose-poetic piece - reads to me like beauty and truth.
What poem has asserted itself into your life this week? What poem alit on your shoulder at just the right moment?
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