“Those Who Cannot Act” by Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield


“Those who act will suffer,
suffer into truth”—
What Aeschylus omitted:
those who cannot act will suffer too.

The sister banished into exile.
The unnamed dog
soon killed.

Even the bystanders vanish,
one by one,
peripheral, in pain unnoticed while

from Rattle #26, 2006


Jane Hirshfield: “My mother still has one of those big brown sheets of writing paper that they give you in first or second grade, with the wide-spaced blue lines. On it, it says, ‘I want to be a writer when I grow up.’ I don’t remember writing or thinking that, only that I was always a lover of words. I read voraciously. I’d choose books over sleep every time.” (web)

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