"Two Poems"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Nov. 2 2010 6:58 AM

"Two Poems"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Jane Hirshfield read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes..

Alzheimer's

 When a fine, old carpet
 is eaten by mice,
 the colors and patterns
 of what's left behind
 do not change.
 As bedrock, tilted,
 stays bedrock,
 its purple and red striations unbroken.
 Unstrippable birthright grandeur.
"How are you," I asked,
 not knowing what to expect.
"Contrary to Keatsian joy," he replied.

The Kind Man     

I sold my grandfather's watch,
its rosy gold and stippled pattern
to be melted.
Movement unreparable.
Lid missing.
Chain—there must have been one—
missing.
Its numbers painted
with a single, expert bristle.
I touched the winding stem
before I passed it over the counter.
The kind man took it,
what I'd brought him as if to the Stasi.
He weighed the honey of time.

.

Jane Hirshfield's sixth book of poetry, After, was named a "best book of 2006" by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Financial Times.

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