Jane Hirshfield’s poetry touches into the depths of being human and journeying into one’s own truth. In this poem, All The Difficult Hours and Minutes, she sketches out difficulty and suffering in the Buddhist sense of wanting things to be other than they are. She imagines a dehydration of plums, like Japanese umeboshi that, in a twist of double-meaning, ‘turn steeply into themselves.’ Calamity, she writes, turns to calmness when things turn into themselves, a principle that goes to the heart of transformative practice.
All The Difficult Hours and Minutes
All the difficult hours and minutes
are like salted plums in a jar.
Wrinkled, turn steeply into themselves,
they mutter something the color of sharkfins to the glass.
Just so, calamity turns toward calmness.
First the jar holds the umeboshi, then the rice does.
From: Poetry Magazine