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"The Task"

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Task

by Jane Hirshfield

It is a simple garment, this slipped-on world.
We wake into it daily—open eyes, braid hair—
a robe unfurled
in rose-silk flowering, then laid bare.

And yes, it is a simple enough task
we've taken on,
though also vast:
from dusk to dawn,

from dawn to dusk, to praise, and not
be blinded by the praising.
To lie like a cat in hot
sun, fur fully blazing,

and dream the mouse;
and to keep too the mouse's patient, waking watch
within the deep rooms of the house,
where the leaf-flocked

sunlight never reaches, but the earth still blooms.

"The Task" by Jane Hirshfield, from The October Palace.

I really like the images of this poem and its mandate. But I fear it's a task with which I will struggle. For me the world, the cat, the mouse, and all of the desires never fail to conjure up anything but wanting more.
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