* in the clear with Jane Hirshfield

Reading through an interview with poet Jane Hirshfield, I was moved by a concept she terms “clarity without simplicity”:

Yes, being clear without being simple is one of the poetic qualities I most admire in the work of others, and one I hope finds a place in my own.

I feel like this is one of the qualities that I strive to celebrate here on the Influence.

The phrase itself is clearly unsimple. For me, it implies some effort between the poet and the reader, an effort to not only get the words right but to come to them directly. The poetry in the poem a sort of clearing you have to find your way to, and which the poet clears.

Hirshfield’s poem below shows some of this in action.

* gang-related *
* gang-related *

Tree – Jane Hirshfield

It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books—

Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.


Happy tapping!


p.s. Check out the Hirshfield interview, in which she also shares some insight into Zen and its influence on her life, here.

2 responses to “* in the clear with Jane Hirshfield”

  1. Well written. May peace be with you 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Gede Prama! May peace be with you as well.

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