Monday, July 25, 2011

The Morning Reading: "proud flesh"

For What Binds Us
-Jane Hirschfield

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down --
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

as all flesh
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest --

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.


smilingheart said...

beautiful, one of my favorites! thank you.

Marjorie said...

Wonderful choices on your site. I needed to hear this morning's reading, to read this poem aloud. Thank you.

Lisa Richter said...

Jane Hirshfield once commented that she was never sure whether to call this a love poem or an end-of-love poem, because it is both those things....

Thanks, Lisa, for this.

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