“The Promise” by Jane Hirshfield

Mysteriously they entered, those few minutes.
Mysteriously, they left.
As if the great dog of confusion guarding my heart,
who is always sleepless, suddenly slept.
It was not any awakening of the large, not so much as that,
only a stepping back from the petty.
I gazed at the range of blue mountains,
I drank for the stream. Tossed in a small stone from the bank.
Whatever direction the fates of my life might travel, I trusted.
Even the greedy direction, even the grieving, trusted.
There was nothing left to be saved from, bliss nor danger.
The dog’s tail wagged a little in his dream.

“The Promise” by Jane Hirshfield, from After: Poems. © HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.

2 thoughts on ““The Promise” by Jane Hirshfield

    1. Good catch, Heather! You’re right! The one you are remembering is from 2011, and the one I shared is from 2006.

      One of my favorites is “When Your Life Looks Back”. She reads it at 4:30 here:

      “When your life looks back—
      As it will, at itself, at you—what will it say?”


Comments are closed.