A day comes when the mouth grows tired of saying “I.”
Yet it is occupied still by a self that must speak —Jane Hirshfield
I wish it was I Who wrote this poem Spare Like a Japanese long sword, Centered, Focused on its purpose.
But someone else Crafted and honed it.
I can make it my own— I will write a translation.
But try as I might, I am unable To reforge this poem In another language. I find that its strength Cannot be extricated From its words, From their multiple meanings Melding and folding Across the lines.
I will seize this poem, Learn it by heart, Enlighten my listeners, As I recite it, Cut through the ignorance Of my opponents.
But what really happens Is that the poem, True to its purpose, Slices deeply Into my own Self.
I gasp, Laugh ruefully, Watching the blood Well up and run freely.