The Promise

          by Jane Hirshfield

Stay, I said

to the cut flowers.

They bowed

their heads lower.

Stay, I said to the spider,

who fled.

Stay, leaf.

It reddened,

embarrassed for me and itself.

Stay, I said to my body.

It sat as a dog does,

obedient for a moment,

soon starting to tremble.

Stay, to the earth

of riverine valley meadows,

of fossiled escarpments,

of limestone and sandstone.

It looked back

with a changing expression, in silence.

Stay, I said to my loves.

Each answered,



David LaMotte


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