how the black cord makes of them a single fabric

I rarely share a poem twice on this blog, but today I offer a piece by the wonderfully mystical Jane Hirshfield (1953-) that I posted almost exactly five years ago to this day. I had the pleasure of hearing her read this, along with many other healing, deeply contemplative poems earlier this week, and the images still linger with me this morning.


“For What Binds Us”

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they’ve been set down—
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There’s a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

as all flesh
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest-

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.


2 thoughts on “how the black cord makes of them a single fabric

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