“The poems of Edward Hirsch turn out to be exceptional. . . . These poems of wonder and consolation comment on the world, lovely and rapacious by turns, that we all inhabit.”
– Peter Stitt, The Georgia Review

“A perfectly astonishing book.”
– William Meredith

“I’m reading these beautiful, original, haunting poems with delight and discovery.”
– W. S. Merwin

“I have loved Edward Hirsch’s poems since I first discovered them six or seven years ago. I admire his reverence for language, his humor, his tenderness, his intelligence—and the commitment to poetry, to life.”
– Gerald Stern

Pages: 96 pages
Publisher: Knopf (1981)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0887482519

For the Sleepwalkers

Tonight I want to say something wonderful
for the sleepwalkers who have so much faith
in their legs, so much faith in the invisible

arrow carved into the carpet, the worn path
that leads to the stairs instead of the window,
the gaping doorway instead of the seamless mirror.

I love the way that sleepwalkers are willing
to step out of their bodies into the night,
to raise their arms and welcome the darkness,

palming the blank spaces, touching everything.
Always they return home safely, like blind men
who know it is morning by feeling shadows.

And always they wake up as themselves again.
That’s why I want to say something astonishing
like: Our hearts are leaving our bodies.

Our hearts are thirsty black handkerchiefs
flying through the trees at night, soaking up
the darkest beams of moonlight, the music

of owls, the motion of wind-torn branches.
And now our hearts are thick black fists
flying back to the glove of our chests.

We have to learn to trust our hearts like that.
We have to learn the desperate faith of sleep-
walkers who rise out of their calm beds

and walk through the skin of another life.
We have to drink the stupefying cup of darkness
and wake up to ourselves, nourished and surprised.