Jane Hirshfield reads
Some Enemy Took My Life
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Some enemy took my life, stripped me of my world strength, doused me and drowned me in water, then lifted me dry, set me in sun, where I swiftly lost what hair I had left. A knife-edge cut me then hard, scraped from me every remnant of what I was. Fingers reached to fold me and what was once a bird’s fine delight rained over me a trail of encouraging droplets. Crossing often over the brown-rimmed inkhorn, it drank from there a stream the color of treebark then stepped back onto me to mark once again its dark road. A her came next to cover me with guardian boards of oakwood, stretched over them soft hide, adorned me with gold until I came to shine bound in rich threads of filigreed wire. Now these bright trappings, my red dye and gleaming jewels, proclaim in all directions the savior of nations, no longer my old foolish sorrows. If the children of men use me well they will be safer, assured of more victories, more courageous, freer of heart, wiser in spirit. They will find more friends, dear and familiar, good friends and true, faithful and helpful, enlarging in honor and grace, who will bring gifts and kindness, the firm clasp of love. Ask who I am, useful to men, bringer of blessings. My name is well-known, and itself is holy.