Poetry Friday: Joe Henry and Jane Hirshfield

Four or is it five weeks into summertime and under the clutter I found some poetry and Poetry Friday. Thank you, Mary Lee at A Year of Reading,  for hosting.

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A few weeks ago, On Being, featured singer-songwriter Joe Henry.  I wasn’t familiar with him or his music. It’s beautiful. His reflections on his writing process led me to read the transcript. Here’s an excerpt:

..(writing) is mysterious. I mean, I think as anybody who lives any kind of creative (l— is devoted to a creative life, but not only — I mean, any of us alive. I mean, we’re really called to — not to dispel mystery but to abide it, to engage it. And that doesn’t mean necessarily making sense out of it. It’s just understanding that there’s a big part of this that is inherently and beautifully and romantically mysterious — has to be and always shall be. I write to discover. (read transcript here or listen here)

Henry spoke of his poet friend Jane Hirshfield.
That led me to her work.

In “A Blessing for a Wedding,” she extends the invitation to take up life and the cycles inherent in it. To abide and engage.
Our songwriters and poets help us navigate and appreciate the challenges and joys of our world.

A Blessing for Wedding 

Today when persimmons ripen
Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow
Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song
Today when the maple sets down its red leaves
Today when windows keep their promise to open
Today when fire keeps its promise to warm
Today when someone you love has died
     or someone you never met has died
read the rest here

13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Joe Henry and Jane Hirshfield

  1. I sent the Jane Hirshfield poem to Katherine as a suggestion for her wedding. Jane HIrshfield has a way of capturing an emotion in surprising and vivid imagery. I saw her once years ago at the Dodge Poetry Festival. She is a gentle soul.

  2. So, so beautiful for starting, and for continuing. I love “Let the vow of this day keep itself wildly and wholly”, something I do believe. Thanks, Julieanne!

  3. Thank you, Julieanne–I look forward to discovering Joe Henry, and I look forward to getting married once more (inside joke) in order to use this wonderful, tender and fierce blessing at the wedding!

  4. Beautiful! I read another Jane Hirshfield poem that I liked and saved the other day: “The Poet.” She ends with a blessing, of sorts, for the poet, which says, “Let one or two she loves
    be in the next room. Let the door
    be closed, the sleeping ones healthy.
    Let her have time, and silence,
    enough paper to make mistakes and go on.”

  5. I didn’t know either Joe Henry or Jane Hirschfield, but after reading Joe’s words, which feel more than a little poetic and Jane’s beautiful poem, I want to know them more. Both my niece and nephew got married this summer. I am going to print out Jane’s poem and mail it to them as a late wedding blessing.

  6. What a blessing this poem is. Many years ago, I read Joy Harjo’s “Eagle Poem” at my brother’s wedding. Like this one, it invokes nature, cycles, and wonder.

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