“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” —T. S. Eliot
Each Moment a White Bull Steps Shining into the World
If the gods bring to you
a strange and frightening creature,
accept the gift
as if it were one you had chosen.
Say the accustomed prayers,
oil the hooves well,
caress the small ears with praise.
Have the new halter of woven silver
embedded with jewels.
Spare no expense, pay what is asked,
when a gift arrives from the sea.
Treat it as you yourself
would be treated, brought speechless and naked
into the court of a king.
And when the request finally comes,
do not hesitate even an instant –
stroke the white throat,
the heavy, trembling dewlaps
you’d come to believe were yours,
and plunge in the knife.
did you enter the pasture
without yourself trembling,
that you came to love it,that was the gift.
Let the envious gods take back what they can.
The Lives of the Heart
“In order to Xerox your book I had to break the spine. Somehow that felt right, because to get the life or anything it seems you have to let some part be broken.” –from “Letter to Hugo from Later,” by Jane Hirshfield, The Lives of the Heart