The Promise

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, 



-Jane Hirshfield-

Poem copyright ©2011 by Jane Hirshfield, from her most recent book of poems, Come, Thief,