Friday, May 28, 2021

Poetry Friday: Jane Hirschfield

I came across this piece — Spiritual Poetry: 22 poems about spirituality and enlightenment— by Jane Hirschfield and got lost in it. She groups the poems into categories, "gates" that she calls, "points of entry into spiritual life." 

Her gates: 

  • Permeability 
  • The Great Yes 
  • Issa's Cricket 
  • Horace's Zen 
  • Four Poets, One Theme: Spiritual Residence 
  • Four Poets, One Theme: Abundance 
  • Longing 
  • Spiritual Dialogue 
  • Realization 

She includes an expanse of poets from such varying times, places, and spaces that the result is a feeling of being in the room and sharing your sturdy and fragile humanity with the most interesting people you know. 

Here's an example of one of the poems she chose to convey "Abundance":

Of all that God has shown me

I can speak just the smallest word,

Not more than a honey bee

Takes on his foot

From an overspilling jar. 

    ~ Mechtild of Magdeburg (13th century) [translated by Jane Hirshfield]

Enjoy getting lost with me as you wander in and out of Hirschfield's gates


Michelle Kogan has the roundup today. 

Photo courtesy of Daria-Yakovleva at Pixabay


jama said...

Thanks for the heads up about Hirschfield's piece. I will definitely savor all the poems she chose at my leisure this weekend. :)

Denise Krebs said...

Thank you, Karen. I've just read some of the 22 poems, and will continue when I'm done here. I love the poem you share with that sweet description of the difference between God and our limited ability to articulate and understand. Such a truth coming to me today from the Middle Ages. Thank you for sharing.

tanita✿davis said...

How funny - I got a gift of honey this week, and have been marveling at it - and at the bumble bees now in my yard celebrating the finally blooming Velvet Centaureas - basically giant thistle-y things. I need to seek out this poem and read the whole cycle - thanks for sharing it.

Tabatha said...

Wowsa, Karen! What a remarkable collection you are pointing us to! The selection that you shared is ♥️

Karen Eastlund said...

Thank you for this, Karen. I will spend some time with it. I love the abundance poem.

Carol Varsalona said...

Thank you, Karen, for the spiritual gift. Here is one kernel of thought that will remain with me from the 4th Gate: Be patient with whatever comes.

Ruth said...

Ooh, can't wait to read this. Thanks for pointing it out!

Janice Scully said...

This book sounds so intriguing! I loved imagining the amount of honey a bee holds on its foot. I would love to read Hirschfield's book. Thanks for sharing it.

michelle kogan said...

What a gorgeous image in " "Abundance" is offered "From an overspilling jar."
Thanks for sharing this rich collection Karen!

Cathy said...

"crafter of wordscapes"


And I can't think of a better celebration of Mary Lee than a good haiku or two or three.

Linda B said...

I am still reading the PF posts after company over the weekend, Karen. Now I'm glad I waited for your post because I have time to enter those "Gates"! Thank you! The few read so far are wonderful!