Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Lives of the Heart

"The World loved by Moonlight"
You must try,
the voice said, to become colder.
I understood at once.
It is like the body of gods: cast in bronze,
braced in stone. Only something heartless
could bear the full weight.

This is a good time of the year to read “The Lives of the Heart”. Grounded in nature and the everyday, Jane Hirshfield’s poetry collection evokes the interconnection—or disconnection -- between inner and outer worlds, nostalgia, life, grief.
 Some of the metaphors are like drawings that unfold stories. Others tap into the energy of experiences and emotions.
  I found a delicious recipe in one of the poems. Even if you don’t like this poem (it's a fragment of it), you may be willing to try the recipe. I did!

Returning home, slice carrots, onions, celery.
Glaze them in oil before adding
the lentils, water and herbs.

Then the roasted chestnuts, a little pepper, the salt.
Finish with goat cheese and parsley. Eat.
You may do this, I tell you, it is permitted.
Begin again the story of your life.

Matter and Spirit
A shadow empties itself into a river.
No one sees.
But the cloth for washing the bodies of the dead
Softens, gentles a little.
Neither the cloth nor the body feels this.
Yet it matters. Someone else, you see, is there
in the blunt and the blind of grace—
Someone stands silent,
listening, the looped cotton held in her hand.


  1. I do make lentils at least once a week. They are very good, full of protein
    and we don't have to worry about eating meat.

    1. Good point!
      I hope you like this recipe then. I use cheddar cheese instead of goat cheese.

  2. Hi Julia! “Grounded in nature and the everyday,” is exactly the kind of poetry I especially enjoy. I often think about (although I don’t often write about) the disconnection between the inner and the outer worlds. Love the recipe, looks healthy and delicious, I’m trying it, and how awesome that she incorporated that into one of her poems. The first line of “Matter and Spirit” is truly beautiful, her writing is exquisite. I really must get this poetry book! :)

    1. Yes, the recipe is nutritious, Madilyn.I'm glad you like it!
      That first line is my favorite.
      Her poetry is captivating. I fell in love with her poems the first time I read them. They are profound and beautiful.
      Thank you for your comment, Madilyn.

  3. Hi human, Julia,

    Although, like my human, Gary, I'm not much of a fan of pawetry, um, sorry, poetry. However, there be food for thought within the prose! Arf!

    Pawstive wishes, Penny the sometimes reluctant pawet, um, poet.

    1. Poetry is food for the soul.
      Thanks, Penny. Enjoy the lentils.


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