Let Them Not Say
By Jane Hirshfield
Let them not say: we did not see it.
Let them not say: we did not hear it.
Let them not say: they did not taste it.
We ate, we trembled.
Let them not say: it was not spoken, not written.
we witnessed with voices and hands.
Let them not say: they did nothing.
We did not-enough.
Let them say, as they must say something:
A kerosene beauty.
Let them say we warmed ourselves by it,
read by its light, praised,
and it burned.
About This Poem
Jane Hirshfield said this poem was written well before the Presidential Inauguration and without this event in mind. But it seemed a day worth remembering the fate of our shared planet and all its beings, human and beyond.”
Jane Hirshfield’s most recent poetry collection is The Beauty (Knopf, 2015). She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets