A hand is not four fingers and a thumb.
Nor is it palm and knuckles,
not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow,
not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins.
A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines
with their infinite dramas,
nor what it has written,
not on the page,
not on the ecstatic body.
Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping-
not sponge of rising yeast-bread,
not rotor pin's smoothness,
The maple's green hands do not cup
the proliferant rain.
What empties itself falls into the place that is open.
A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question.
Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.
Jane Hirshfield's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (A Hand by Jane Hirshfield )
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
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(5 June 1898 – 19 August 1936)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
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