05 January, 2005

'Between the Material World and the World of Feeling' by Jane Hirshfield

Between the material world and the world of feeling there must be a border -on one side, the person grieves and the cells of the body grieve also; the molecules also, the atoms. Of this there are many proofs. On the other, the iron will of the earth goes on. The torture-broken femur continues to heal even in the last hour, perhaps beyond; the wool coat left behind does not mourn the loss of its master. And yet Cavafy wrote, "In me now everything is turned into feeling-furniture, streets." And Saba found in a bleating goat his own and all beings' sorrow, and this morning the voice of that long dead goat-which is only, after all, a few black-inked words-cries and cries in my ears. Rilke, too, believed the object longs to awaken in us. But I long for the calm acceptance of a bent-wood chair and envy the blue-green curve of a vase's shoulder, which holds whatever is placed within it-the living flower or the dead-with an equally tender balance, and knows no difference between them.

-- Jane Hirshfield

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