Winter 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 1 Poetry |

Inflection Finally Ungraspable by Grammar

I haven't yet found the pronoun through which to touch it directly. You may feel differently. You may think you can simply reach through all the way   with your hand, like petting the shoulder of an old dog, who, when she can no longer stand, lies on her bed, watching her kingdom   arriving and leaving, arriving and leaving, until at last it only departs. We want our lives and deaths to be like that—something formal, a kingdom.   Filled with the sense of the manyness of existence. As the French say "Vous" to that which cannot yet be made familiar. They do this less and less these days, it seems.

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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.

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My Pronoun

By Jane Hirshfield

I haven't yet found the pronoun through which to touch it directly. You may feel differently. You may think you can simply reach through all the way   with your […]

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