Dec 7 Lydia Hirsch
Ophelia

mothers are interesting to think about.
here is a person that God
or the universe or whatever profound and unimaginable thing that our feeble human minds cannot comprehend
took and made into your growing space
her body now a thing to inhabit you-forming into something better
than she could ever hope for-
and giving you everything in the selfish way that love requires in every relationship
her breath
her blood
her being
separated and shared
until time and nature decides to spill you out into the world for all to see.
No wonder you cried when you were born

  Dec 7 Lydia Hirsch
Ophelia

I think they understand squat
In your ear
The colossus is growing
Split at your feet like a ripe fruit
Concave flesh
Clock starts—flesh, bone
Nothing there

Mundane space between the knife and thumb
“What a thrill,” you tell to me, “My thumb instead of an onion.”
Thrill indeed
Your father instead of the world
Swallow black—whole oceans in your throat
Swimming back to Daddy

You did it again and I say it’s
Coming back again
Back again
Again

Lilac nurse in a prom dress
Tinged in grey and Cambridge sweaters
Brushing the sun
Teddy makes you laugh eventually
Say you know what you want
He said you were the real thing
So learn

I can taste you alive
I’m underneath the floorboards
Ibuprofen
Blue tinged with your bandages
Christ takes His time to raise me back
The black dog
3 years
Still digging even when

You and I cross the sky and I cross my heart and I cross my legs oh my
God
Bit your pretty red heart in two

for sylvia.
  Dec 7 Lydia Hirsch
Ophelia

body
lightweight flesh stretched over bones young enough to be
mine
she says, “I’m not asking you to believe in me.
but
silver-haired daddy’s got it confused
i’m not persephone.”
talk can be dangerous and  tape it across my
mouth
“these things you need to do
i never asked you how.”
line me up in single file
with all your grievances
still
i can taste you still
alive
below the waves
something tragic in your stars and charts and maps and
       destiny
black dog coming back when you
open up
for the rest of the world to breathe
i think i can see
“I’m not asking you to believe in me.
but
silver-haired daddy’s got it confused
i’m not persephone.”
but if you need time
sometimes i think
if we take some time
i won’t mind
down the river your friend names
after me
i don’t hold onto the tales of your kind
line me up in single file
with all your grievances
still
i can taste you still
alive
below the waves

calling for myself  in the corners of the world
i know she’s playing poker with the rest of the stragglers
pale kind
i know she’s playing poker with the rest
the rest
how many fates turn around in the other time
bag in the ulcer field
dreams that you’ll never find
you thought that you were the damned one
WELL SO DID I
SAY YOU DON’T WANT IT
SAY YOU DON’T WANT IT
SAY YOU DON’T WANT IT
AGAIN AND AGAIN And again and again and

she says, “I’m not asking you to believe in me.
but
silver-haired daddy’s got it confused
i’m not persephone.”
talk can be dangerous and  tape it across my
mouth
“these things you need to do
i never asked you how.”

i know we’re falling and there’s no sign of getting through
in your heart i feel the west
and it’s dying too

for sacajawea.
Lydia Hirsch Apr 3

I find myself wondering where we are going, and why.
Change has taken the leaves from the trees,
the song from the songbird, the soil from beneath
our feet.

Humanity, sanctified beast united in worship of its own debris,
where are you going? Do you know where you are going?
Do you know why? You are ruining the world for yourself
because you do not know how to change.

You are not like the leaves that turn orange and red
each November. You refuse to move, refuse to be shaken,
clutch tightly to the thinning stem that attaches you to
the trembling branch of the shaking tree.

The world is changing all around us while we stay still,
static, asleep in the shelter of our glory.
Glory-- a word for the worst of times.
A war word.

The word hangs over the flag-draped coffins of the growing
cemeteries. It promises that this will never end--
in the name of glory, we must be strong.
Humanity, when will you stop killing yourself?

Humanity, will you change?

Lydia Hirsch Mar 10

“If I worship you from fear of Hell, then burn me in Hell. And if I worship you from hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise. But if I worship you for your own sake, do not withhold me from your eternal beauty” -- Rabi’a al-Basri, Sufi poet, mystic, and saint who lived from 717 to 801 AD

Sometimes I read you in the words of ancient poets,
in the verse of Rumi, Hafiz, and Rabi’a.
From their voices and gentle instruments came sacred music.
I can almost hear the song through the written words,
but I long to hear more,
to hear what is lost when music is translated into language.

Sometimes I see you in the endless sea.
The patterns and repetitions of daily life
become tiresome every now and then,
and I feel I cannot walk home in the afternoon,
that I must walk along the shore
until the sky is grey.
I touch the water
so replete with salt and life.
It pulls away from me
and then embraces me with towering waves.
I am comforted by its steady rise and fall.
I feel falsely that I know this ocean well,
though I have seen only the fraction of its immanence
appearing within the borders of my horizon.

Some among us will tell us to be afraid
of this world and the next,
to live opposed to life
and to imagine that prophets and saints
were neither human nor lovers of humanity.





Some among us will want us to be blind
to any light but our own,
will not want us to understand
that we are only many different lamps
illuminating the vast and open evening sky.

These people wear the costumes of teachers and guides,
but speak not to the soul
and instead to the knives one carries in one’s heart.
There is no time for music,
no freedom to search for what is true
and what is beautiful.

Do not be afraid,
neither of this world nor of any other that may be.
Do not be afraid,
but embrace the strangeness and complexity of the world
and search for or create beauty wherever you go.
Do not be afraid,
and remember that the prophets and the saints
were both human and lovers of humanity.

Lydia Hirsch Mar 8

The Earth still wore the modesty of night
when we drove through the silent city streets.
We could see only the outline of her body,
phantoms of shops and office buildings
and every mile or so a man
walking alone in the darkness.

I was less than half awake,
and you were only slightly more.
Because of that, or the time that has gone by,
or because of the many nights that summer
I drank a thousand cups of tea
and never slept because of you--
Because of these things, there is a dreamlike quality
to my memory of the morning we drove to San Francisco.

The landscapes, from farms to famous cities,
guarded by a veil of darkness.
The sun did not come up that morning.
Black clouds replaced the clouds of night
and it rained and rained.
It was the first time in a year
that I watched rain fall on the window.
Beautiful, heavenly rain.
It sang to us throughout the morning
with its hopeful, childish voice.

Almond trees grew by the side of the road,
and to the other side was the ocean,
tremulous, rushing to the shore.
Between us, the almond trees, and the ocean
were the little towns along the central coast.





At a market, we saw a medieval tradesman
selling avocados in the rain.
It was good to be still for a while,
to rest for an hour in a quiet cafe
in a town where only strangers lived.

I slept for the next five hours,
dreamt within what is now a dream to me.
When I awoke it was light outside
and no longer raining.
The clouds were in someone else’s sky.

We were crossing the Bay Bridge.
It lacked the fame and beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge,
but possessed a warmth no other bridge could offer.
So many times had I crossed this bridge when I was small,
it felt like crossing back into childhood.

The Earth threw off her veil of darkness
and wore so many brilliant colors.
She danced a busy dance,
and her streets were filled with people,
and the shops and cafes of the city
were open and full of life.

Lydia Hirsch Mar 8

Of course there is not silence, there
never has been nor ever will be;
and if there is, it is an artificial silence,
a silence without dignity.

There is the silence of those who
refuse to listen, but eventually
their eyes and their ears must be free.
There is the silence of those who

cannot speak, but eventually
their voices must be heard. There was a
silence before the world was born,
but it was only the anticipation

of the tumultuous revolution
of light, the original cry
for change, the first time hope prevailed
over darkness.

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