KR OnlinePoetry

Broken-off Twig Budding Out in the Path

From The Kenyon Review, New Series, Spring 1997, Vol. XIX, No. 2

Only the slightest thaw,
and something plops
in the water that clears.

It may be nothing that swims,
nothing that hops, or hopes.
Edge-ice falling in.

Something that happens
and simply stops.
Or it may be a thing

like this stick—
its red buds swelling out
in spite of what it

ought to know,
in spite of where it ought to be.
Some quickened water sprout,

separate
beyond naming
in its early spring.

Jane Hirshfield is the author of two new books, The Beauty (poems) and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (essays), both appearing from Knopf in Spring 2015. She is a current Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.