Jane Hirshfeild is a strange poet of those who are praised to be the best. Her poetry is just simply perfect, and that makes a big different from other great poets. Almost poets make their poems to be interesting by the complexity. I wrote in one of my poems that Tadao Ando, a Japanese architect has a simple geometric form, and all are perfect. Another guy I wrote about is Antoni Gaudi who make weird shape and form on his architecture. Both are right and interesting. In my opinion, it is harder to make a simple form or a simple story to be interesting. And Jane Hirshfeild can do what many talented people cannot do.
Jane Hirshfeild was born in New York City . She should have grown up with a complex life. Although she had had that life before, she does not have to put all her experience into the poem as almost regular artists do. She makes her poem easy to understand for everybody in every age and everywhere. This seems like she has high graphic skill on her poem. Graphic is something for many people to understand in the same way. Mostly it is on picture or symbol, and right here, she has it on her poem. She has the best way to communicate. She does not just communicate by her story or her feeling. All she did is for teaching. She created a big lesson which is not too much serious as in the religion book. She entertains people with the rhythm of poem and she tells Buddhism teaching at the same time.
Simple format and good-communication language of Jane Hirshfeild’s poetry make people believe in her words easily. She is both nice and excellent in this way. Her teaching is always help the world, by its idea and the way to think about the life. Her poetry gives new hopes for people. Her poetry is friend for the lonely. All her poems are optimistic stories which are based on truth.
One of her poem which can help people who are confused very well is, “Poem With Two Ending”. This poem talks about the living and the death. And that is true as the name of it, that is both are the ending of each other. This will remind most people who heard of a Greenday song, “Closing Time” about a sentense that is, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Jane Hirshfeild begins “Poem With Two Ending” with the truth to make her poem to be much strong for lost-hope people to believe in. If I were those people, she could describe my feeling at that moment really well. She does not just say the exact word of those feelings, but she used scenes to represent them. She wrote, “Say, ‘death’ and the whole room freezes (1), even the couches stop moving (2)”. There is not only the really situation she gave, she also has an easy example which everyone can imagine with. The easy example can make her poem to be really solid and much more powerful. She has it in this poem, that is, “Like a squirrel suddenly aware it is being looked at”. This is totally true. Almost photographer got a great shot of squirrels, because they got stuck when they feel the camera looking at them. She gave more examples in following line until she felt that they are enough, and after that it is her time to teach. The last example seems to be strongest one in my sight. She wrote, “A shopping mall swirls around the corpse of a beetle (11)”. This really shows all meanings of the death. Shopping mall is so big, and a beetle is so small and round. This bug has no direction around four walls. The bug is just like a dust in the universe and no one look at it. People can also step on it. The bug is alone. No one cares about it. At the end, nothing of it leave for, or relate, to all things around. Although her poems is fine and soft, she has a really confident part in this poem that is, “Death is voracious, it swallows all the living (12). Life is voracious, it swallows all the dead (13).” That means both cannot be together, but they can destroy each other. If a person still worry about the death, he will never feel that everything and himself are alive. This is as same as the beginning of the poem, that everything in the room is stopped. On the other hand, if this person is conscious that he is still alive, he will keep his life going and he will never feel the death. The last line of this poem which stand alone says, “The grip of life is as strong as the grip of death”. My understading of this sentense is if people no need to be afraid of the death, and the dead no need to afraid to be in the world, because of both are really strong, and by this strength, they cannot change each other to be in another way. In this poem, Jane Hirshfeild has both great line up with the useful example, nice teaching and great conclusion. This means not only her poem which is calm, because she is also calm when she wrote it, too.
People who were born Buddhist have never been as the excellent people who turn themselves to be Buddhist by their own majority. Buddhism has much more freedom than all other religions. Buddhists do not need to believe in one religion, if other religion teachs people to be nice. Jane Hirshfeild’s poetry does not compress the reader to be Buddhist, but it can persuade by its meaning without any words to persuade as in regular Christian or Satanic songs. In another word is she directs people to look at the world positively, although they do not have to, they will think follow her words. Jane Hirshfeild has a pure Buddhist poem that is, “A Hand”. Surrealistic artists look at the world in different ways from other people, and Jane Hirshfeild and other real Buddists look at everything as nothing.
When Thai students open Buddhist books, they are bored to read about something as everything is just like nothing. Jane Hirshfeild has a good example for them. She picked the nearest example which all readers, except a deformed man, can just look at their own hands and go along with her poem. She describes the hand, that it is not everything that regular people can see or read from. It is not the way surrealistic artists do, too. She said the hand is not what it looks like and not its functions. At the end, the poem says, “Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs (18).” To rise, to swarm and to depart all are about the reality of human life. The hand is an important part of human. They are about the same idea in her poem. Everything was born, and it has to has its own responsibility, and then it goes. This meaning does not make people to be depressed or hopeless, but this is thoughtful and cheerful. If people consider about this poem, they will be able to begin their new day so well, because they know that one day they will depart, so they do not need to stick with any shape or form or how rich, how poor they are. If the thing is nothing, to have and to not have are the same. Then, people can give or do charity without thrift. There is only goodness and badness which can be left in the world. In fact, goodness and badness are equally as death and life. We will never know which one is which one if there is no another one. If there is not darkness, we will not know what the brightness is.
The Buddists always give the lotuses to the monks or to the temple. They do as a tradition. In fact, the flower is symbol for monk, and people can give any kinds of flowers to the monk. Monks are from various kinds of people with various of status. There is no classes or levels after their ordination. Every monk respects each other. By this Buddhist symbol, I really admire how Jane Hirshfeild compare people as the gems in “Poem Holding Its heart in One Fist”. That is all difference of people are just like all difference meaning of each gem in the world. This difference of people also reminds me about another poem of her, “the Weighing” which describe about the different life in different season of a lion. That is no one can be strong at all time, because everything has to be balance. The last paragraph of “the Weighing” seems like she compares that the lion also has to give the strength to the nature in the drought time. And this also related to “A Hand” which I mentioned that people cannot stay in the same way until the end of the world.
Jane Hirshfeild has very various examples to teach different lessons, and all are also nice things and all things are also related to each other. This poet really has strong idea in her mind, and she is so excellent to spread that idea out to many different ways. How plain and how true her words are, they have never disturb how interesting of her poetry. Her poetry is all fact and truly friendly, and I believe that it can teach people not only every age, but also in every era.