I wake, doubt, beside you,
like a curtain half-open.
I dress doubting,
like a cup
undecided if it has been dropped.
I eat doubting,
go out to a dubious cafe with skeptical friends.
I go to sleep doubting myself,
as a herd of goats
sleep in a suddenly gone-quiet truck.
I dream you, doubt,
for what is the meaning of dreaming
if not that all we are while inside it
is transient, amorphous, in question?
Left hand and right hand,
doubt, you are in me,
throwing a basketball, guiding my knife and my fork.
Left knee and right knee,
we run for a bus,
for a meeting that surely will end before we arrive.
I would like
to grow content in you, doubt,
as a double-hung window
settles obedient into its hidden pulleys and ropes.
I doubt I can do so:
your own counterweight governs my nights and my days.
As the knob of hung lead holds steady
the open mouth of a window,
you hold me,
my kneeling before you resistant, stubborn,
offering these furious praises
I can't help but doubt you will ever be able to hear.
About this poem
"There are times almost impossible to navigate, and silencing, when everything has come into question. The doubt behind this poem was, in the living of it, something close to despair-at my own life, at the life of the world held in any day's news. Yet to find within the times of ash anything that might be made word-malleable, anything susceptible to imaginative leap and some sense, even, of the comic-that in itself is antidote and through-passage. By the time the poem was half-written, the window had been cracked open an inch; once that happens, some breathable air can't help but rush in."
About Jane Hirshfield
Jane Hirshfield is the author of "The Beauty" (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), which was longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and will be the 2016 Mohr Visiting Poet at Stanford University.
The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.
(c) 2016 Jane Hirshfield. Originally published by the Academy of American Poets, www.poets.org. Distributed by King Features Syndicate
I wake, doubt, beside you,
More Poem Of The Day
You have spoken the answer.
A child searches far sometimes
Into the red dust
On a dark rose leaf
And so you have gone far
For the answer is:
In the republic
Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
After the birthing of bombs of forks and fear,
the frantic automatic weapons unleashed,
the spray of bullets into a crowd holding hands,
that brute sky opening in a slate metal maw
that swallows ...Read More
I could tell they were father and son,
the air between them, slack as though
they hardly noticed one another.
The father sanded the gunwales,
the boy coiled the lines.
And I admired ...Read More
I will drift
and know it
the way a son
recognizes a mother
after he has returned
from many years
fold its edges
in gold paper
to rest on a scale.
the catapult of one
the other swings
bobs and waits
for a leaf of one's