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  Jane Hirshfield
Jane Hirshfield
Jane Hirshfield is the author of six collections of poetry, including After (Harper Collins, 2006) and Given Sugar, Given Salt (Harper Collins, 2002). Her poetry speaks to the central issues of human existence-desire and loss, impermanence and beauty, the many dimensions of our connection to others and to the creatures and objects with which we share our lives. Demonstrating with quiet authority what it means to awaken into the full capacities of attention, her work sets forth a hard-won affirmation of our human fate.

Jane Hirshfield is one of our finest, most memorable contemporary poets.
–The American Poet

To Opinion: An Assay

Jane Hirshfield
Many capacities have been thought to define the human—
yet finches and wasps use tools; speech comes
into this world in many forms.
Perhaps it is you, Opinion.

Though I cannot know for certain,
I doubt the singing dolphins have opinions.

This thought of course, is you.

A mosquito's estimation of her meal, however subtle,
is not an opinion. That's my opinion, too.

To think about you is to step into
your arms? a thicket? pitfall?

When you come rising strongly in me, I feel myself grow separate
and more lonely.
Even when others share you, this is so.

Darwin said no fact or description that fails to support an argument can serve.

Myoe wrote: Bright, bright, bright, bright, the moon.

Last night there were whole minutes when you released me.
Ocean ocean ocean was the sound the sand made of the moonlit waves
breaking on it.

I felt no argument with any part of my life.

Not even with you, Opinion, who drifted in salt waters with the bullwhip kelp
and phosphorescent plankton,
nibbling my legs and ribcage to remind me where Others end and I begin.

Good joke, I agreed with you, companion Opinion.

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