Jane Hirshfield

(New York / United States)

Heat - Poem by Jane Hirshfield

My mare, when she was in heat,
would travel the fenceline for hours,
wearing the impatience
in her feet into the ground.

Not a stallion for miles, I'd assure her,
give it up.

She'd widen her nostrils,
sieve the wind for news, be moving again,
her underbelly darkening with sweat,
then stop at the gate a moment, wait
to see what I might do.
Oh, I knew
how it was for her, easily
recognized myself in that wide lust:
came to stand in the pasture
just to see it played.
Offered a hand, a bucket of grain—
a minute's distraction from passion
the most I gave.

Then she'd return to what burned her:
the fence, the fence,
so hoping I might see, might let her free.
I'd envy her then,
to be so restlessly sure
of heat, and need, and what it takes
to feed the wanting that we are—

only a gap to open
the width of a mare,
the rest would take care of itself.
Surely, surely I knew that,
who had the power of bucket
and bridle—
she would beseech me, sidle up,
be gone, as life is short.
But desire, desire is long.


Comments about Heat by Jane Hirshfield

  • Stephen Loomes (8/27/2016 6:18:00 AM)


    Is the fenced mare a metaphor for your own coralled youth? What strange palliation, a bucket of chaff. (Report) Reply

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  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/30/2016 10:15:00 AM)


    Only a gap to open! Nice work. (Report) Reply

  • (5/30/2016 8:19:00 AM)


    so descriptive i too have
    seen those times for
    other animals... needless
    to say humans too..thanks
    for sharing.
    (Report) Reply

  • Simone Inez Harriman (5/30/2016 2:04:00 AM)


    Stunning poem Jane. You described so well lust and desire with a sensitive sadness. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 22, 2016



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