I Am Going to Start Living Like a Mystic
Today I am pulling on a green wool sweater
and walking across the park in a dusky snowfall.
The trees stand like twenty-seven prophets in a field,
each a station in a pilgrimage—silent, pondering.
Blue flakes of light falling across their bodies
are the ciphers of a secret, an occultation.
I will examine their leaves as pages in a text
and consider the bookish pigeons, students of winter.
I will kneel on the track of a vanquished squirrel
and stare into a blank pond for the figure of Sophia.
I shall begin scouring the sky for signs
as if my whole future were constellated upon it.
I will walk home alone with the deep alone,
a disciple of shadows, in praise of the mysteries.
“It takes a brave poet to follow Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton into the abyss… Hirsch’s poems [are] compassionate, reverential, sometimes relievingly ruthless.”
— Dana Goodyear, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Carefully and subtly ordered… Hirsch in his highest mode.”
— Chris King, Washington Post Book World
“Poems of rare, passionate spiritual energy… Hirsch’s imagery is luminous and uplifting.”
— Charles Guenther, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Whether he’s contemplating Homer or the Holocaust, standing transfixed before a painting by Agnes Martin, or holding a handful of fresh figs, Hirsch embraces language as a mystical force, and he and his readers truly are transported.”
— Donna Seaman, Booklist