To Speech

Jane Hirshfield

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This first, this last:
there’s nothing you wouldn’t say.

Unshockable inclusion your most pure nature,
and so you are like an iron pot—
whatever’s put in, it holds.

We think it’s the fire that cooks the stew,
but, speech, it’s also you:
teacher
of fire-making and stew-making,
orator of all our plans and intentions.

We think we think with a self.
That also, it seems, is mostly you—
sometimes a single spider’s thread of you,
sometimes a mountain.

The late sun paints orange
the white belly of a hawk overhead—
that wasn’t you,
though now and here, it is.

If a hungry child says “orange,” her taste buds grow larger.

If a person undamaged says “hungry child,”
his despondence grows larger.

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