Edward Hirsch's poems

Anonymous's picture

I enjoyed listening to Hirsch's conversation -- it was so personal and direct. I detected a sense of resignation not in any defeatist sense but in a detached sense -- healthfully, so. I like Edward's observation that there will be resolution of the conflicts (possibly) only in the grave. This observation, in my opinion, says that a positivist approach is unlikely to ever resolve and reconcile the conflicts -- we need something beyond. Hirsch evokes his dad's death as the anchor to hope.

When I was listening to Hirsch, I was reminded of a poem by an Indian sufist, Kabir Das, where he sings of the Abode of the Beloved (as Hirsch's reflection on his dad) as thus:

In that Place There Is No Happiness or Unhappiness,
No Truth or Untruth
Neither Sin Nor Virtue.
There Is No Day or Night, No Moon or Sun,
There Is Radiance Without Light.

There Is No Knowledge or Meditation
No Repetition of Mantra or Austerities,
Neither Speech Coming From Vedas or Books.
Doing, Not-Doing, Holding, Leaving
All These Are All Lost Too In This Place.

Odile's picture

Thank you GK for bringing

Thank you GK for bringing this poet to our attention.I could not help but look him up and stumbled on this entry which I found interesting as it added layers to your post: "In Hinduism, a tradition of worship that emphasizes devotion to a personal god as the sole necessary means for achieving salvation. It developed in southern India in the 6th–8th centuries and in northern India from the 14th century.In northern India, bhakti was in part a social protest movement. The poet Kabir synthesized Hinduism and Islam to produce a new mystic philosophy. Nanak, influenced by Kabir, founded the Sikh religion. In Bengal, Caitanya led a popular bhakti movement that later gave rise to the Hare Krishna sect."

WmAnthony's picture

I highly recommend Hirsch's

I highly recommend Hirsch's earlier book on his father's passing entitled Lay Back In Darkness.
From the title poem, I quote
My father in the night shuffling from room to room/
on an obscure mission through the hallway./
Help me, spirits, to penetrate his dream/
and ease his restless passage./

It was interesting to hear Daniel ask Hirsch how his latest books is more personal given the verse above, published in 2003.

GK's picture

G.K. Kalyanaram Talking

G.K. Kalyanaram

Talking about Krishna (sometimes, also called Hari) and Chaitanya (poet from East India -- Bengal and Orissa), there is another wonderful poet(ess.) Her name was Mirababi -- she composed most melifluous songs/poems in praise of Lord Krishna --Hari. Mirabai's poems have been translated by poet Robert Bly. Composer John Harbison adapted Bly's translations for "Mirabai Songs."

In any case, here is a poem by Mirabai (of course, translated version) ---

"That dark dweller in Brajj
Is my only refuge.
O my companion,
Worldly comfort is an illusion,
As soon you get it, it goes.
I have chosen the indestructible for my refuge,
Him whom the snake of death
Will not devour.

My beloved dwells in my heart all day,
I have actually seen that abode of joy.
Mira's lord is Hari, the indestructible.
My lord, I have taken refuge with Thee,
Your dasi."

Kevin Longrie's picture

One of, if not my exact

One of, if not my exact favorite.

Song Against Natural Selection

by Edward Hirsch

The weak survive!
A man with a damaged arm,
a house missing a single brick, one step
torn away from the other steps
the way I was once torn away
from you; this hurts us, it

isn't what we'd imagined, what
we'd hoped for when we were young
and still hoping for, still imagining things,
but we manage, we survive. Sure,
losing is hard work, one limb severed
at a time makes it that much harder

to get around the city, another word
dropped from our vocabularies
and the remaining words are that much heavier
on our tongues, that much further
from ourselves, and yet people
go on talking, speech survives.

It isn't easy giving up limbs,
trying to manage with that much
less to eat each week, that much more
money we know we'll never make,
things we not only can't buy, but
can't afford to look at in the stores;

this hurts us, and yet we manage, we survive
so that losing itself becomes a kind
of song, our song, our only witness
to the way we die, one day at a time;
a leg severed, a word buried: this
is how we recognize ourselves, and why.