Now A Darkness is Coming
by Jane Hirshfield

I hold my life with two hands.
I walk with two legs.
Two ears are enough to hear Bach with.
Blinded in one eye, a person sees with the other.
Now a great darkness is coming.
A both-eyes darkness.
I have one mouth.
It holds two words.
Yes, No,
inside all others.
Yes. No. No. Yes.
I say yes to these words, as I must,
and I also refuse them.
My two legs,
shaped to go forward,
obedient to can’t-know and must-be,
walk into the time that is coming.

“Now A Darkness is Coming” from LEDGER: Poems by Jane Hirshfield. Published 2020 by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.


on DH Lawrence:
Lawrence’s books include The Rainbow (1915), Women in Love, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which was his last novel. The story of an aristocratic lady and her working-class lover, the book contained a multitude of sex scenes and unprintable four-letter words. The first edition was published privately in Italy (1928) and an edited version appeared in Britain in 1932. The unexpurgated version wasn’t published in the United Kingdom until 1960 and promptly came under attack. At the obscenity trial, the attorney for the prosecution famously asked the jury, “Is it a book you would have lying around? Is it a book you would wish your wife or servants to read?”
Novelist E.M. Forster was called as a witness for the defense in the British trial. His good friend Lawrence had died a long time before, in 1930, of tuberculosis in Vence, France. Forster called Lawrence “the greatest imaginative novelist of his generation.”
Lawrence’s ashes are interred in a small chapel in what is now the D.H. Lawrence Ranch in New Mexico. He said, “If there weren’t so many lies in the world, I wouldn’t write at all.”
And, “The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread.”


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