Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Hand

outline of hand filled in with doodles

by Jane Hirshfield

A hand is not four fingers and a thumb. Nor is it palm and knuckles, not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow, not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins. A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines with their infinite dramas, nor what it has written, not on the page, not on the ecstatic body. photo landscape in shape of right hand Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping— not sponge of rising yeast-bread, not rotor pin's smoothness, not ink. The maple's green hands do not cup the proliferant rain. What empties itself falls into the place that is open. A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question. Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.

From: Given Sugar, Given Salt by Jane Hirshfield, published by HarperCollins. Copyright © 2001 by Jane Hirshfield.

Top image: 'give her a hand' – © sue okieffe 2008

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