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A poem after Jane Hirshfield
Good poems don't accuse, she said.
Good poems listen, observe, expand,
reach a hand to otherness, ask,
What do you need? How can I help?
Good poems are not ideas but bodies,
dancing skeletons, ancient stardust,
unlikely odds calling on us to lower
the masks and reveal our true faces.
Good poems learn how to say I'm sorry
without blame or deflection.
Good poems are humble.
Like any guru worth their salt,
good poems know they don't know shit
and don't indulge pretense or pretend.
Good poems reveal themselves
one line at a time, not all at once.
Good poems aren't in a hurry
nor are they interested in your shame
or stagnant pools of self-loathing.
No, they grow towards your joy,
as a cutting reaches for the brightest window.
Good poems don't judge or condemn,
they leave the harshness to us
and hold us to something better.
So cover the clocks, open your blinds,
walk out of your small heart chambers
into the wide welcome of the world.
Good poems are waiting for you
Inspired by this conversation between Ezra Klein and poet Jane Hirshfield
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