a thursday poem

The Path
by Jack Hirschman*

Go to your broken heart.
If you think you don't have one, get one.
To be one, be sincere.
Learn sincerity of intent by letting
life enter, because you're helpless, really,
to do otherwise.
Even as you try escaping, let it take you
and tear you open
like a letter sent
like a sentence inside
you've waited all your life
though you've committed nothing.
Let it send you up.
Let it break you, heart.
Broken-heartedness is the beginning
of all real reception.
The ear of humility hears beyond the gates.
See the gates opening.
Feel your hands going akimbo on your hips,
your mouth opening like a womb
giving birth to your voice for the first time.
Go singing whirling into the glory
of being ecstatically simple.
Write the poem.

* * *

The first time I read this, I felt like it was written just for me. Poetry has been a part of my life since I was little but after some of those love poems in my youth, I never really allowed myself to write poetry anymore. For a long time, it seemed that this poetry path is something that wasn't for me. I thought I didn't have the courage to put myself out there and be vulnerable in such skinny string of words.

But this past summer, I found poetry again. Or rather, poetry found me. And I have never been more in touch with myself. Yes, there's still those times when I ask "Do I really want to write this? What will they think of me? Who wants to read this anyway?" Every time this happens, I always tell myself to stop. Stop and just write the poem. That's all you really need to do.

*San Francisco's current Poet Laureate


  1. Yes, I agree with you. If poetry is in your blood, then there's no denying it. Just let go and let it embrace you. Write the poem!.

    Thanks for sharing this. :)

  2. Thank you for sharing that. Not a poet I've encountered before, but one I'm very glad to have met.

  3. I prefer poetry to crossword puzzles; and they seem to demand equal amount of brain power.

    By the way, “Broken-heartedness is the beginning of all real reception.” I think that’s true.

  4. hi joezul!
    thanks for dropping by. yeah, those poems are kinda stubborn. they won't let you go, might as well write them. =)

    hi greenishlady!
    jack hirschman is SF's current poet laureate. i've read that he's been giving away his poems to random people on the streets most of his life, sometimes in exchange for a cup of coffee.

    gilson, you're right. poetry is much like crossword puzzles. but definitely more demanding! =)

  5. He does have a point. Thanks for sharing this. I will chk out more of his works.

  6. I loved your comparison with the womb

  7. This poem is very smart and I loved it. Thank you for sharing his work.

  8. I really like this--thank you for introducing me to another great poet. I love his perspective on heart-break leading to poetry in a freeing, almost celebratory way.

  9. very nice indeed, i live in marin,, and had no clue san francisco had it's own poet laureate....

  10. Thanks for sharing this poem this week. That's the best feeling--finding a poem that seems like it was just for you.

  11. Thats a unique poem for sure, jus for the love of poetry. I love it personally. Keep this fire up,never been to ur blog before but i now have a reason to be passing by.

  12. very honest and hopeful and open. very diverting.

  13. A heartfelt poem and post! I guess we get to the point where we can 'just do it'. I, too, was surprised to find San Francisco had her own poet laureate.

  14. paisley and tumblewords, i didn't know that SF has its own poet laureate either until i moved here last year.

  15. thank you everyone for all your comments!

  16. As you can see... I'm getting to know you... For this poem I have one word: WOW! Thanks for sharing it.