Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I lived between my heart and my head,
like a married couple who can't get along.
I lived between my left arm, which is swift
and sinister, and my right, which is righteous.
I lived between a laugh and a scowl,
and voted against myself, a two-party system.
My left leg dawdled or danced along,
my right cleaved to the straight and narrow.
My left shoulder was like a stripper on vacation,
my right stood upright as a Roman soldier.
Let's just say that my left side was the organ
donor and leave my private parts alone,
but as for my eyes, which are two shades
of brown, well, Dionysus, meet Apollo.
Look at Eve raising her left eyebrow
while Adam puts his right foot down.
No one expected it to survive,
but divorce seemed out of the question.
I suppose my left hand and my right hand
will be clasped over my chest in the coffin
and I'll be reconciled at last,
I'll be whole again.
This from a daily E-Mail put out by Knopf Poetry from Random House. You can sign up for it at their website and peruse the archive of previous selections. Mr. Hirsch will be reading from his latest collection tonight in Iowa City at Prairie Lights Bookstore. Below is a clip for the author reading the poem. The Van Gogh self-portrait is from Wikipedia.
Self Portrait- Edward Hirsch
UPDATE: NPR has an interview with Hirsch.