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  • Kathy Marsak

Fours and Longing

Fours are blessed with a longing for depth and beauty (think of Rumi and his longing for Shams). Under stress, however, their focus can shift to what is missing, and Fours can become envious and alienated. We all have a bit of Four in us. Can we practice looking around us and finding the extraordinary in the ordinary? This poem, Lake and Maple by Jane Hirshfield, speaks to the beautiful longing for wholeness and integration in each of us.



I want to give myself


as this maple

that burned and burned

for three days without stinting

and then in two more

dropped off every leaf;

as this lake that,

no matter what comes

to its green-blue depths,

both takes and returns it.

In the still heart,

that refuses nothing,

the world is twice-born—

two earths wheeling,

two heavens,

two egrets reaching

down into subtraction;

even the fish

for an instant doubled,

before it is gone.

I want the fish.

I want the losing it all

when it rains and I want

the returning transparence.

I want the place

by the edge-flowers where

the shallow sand is deceptive,

where whatever

steps in must plunge,

and I want the ones

who come in secret to drink

only in early darkness,

and I want the ones

who are swallowed.

I want the way

the water sees without eyes,

hears without ears,

shivers without will or fear

at the gentlest touch.

I want it the way it

accepts the cold moonlight

and lets it pass,

the way it lets

all of it pass

without judgment or comment.

There is a lake,

Lalla Ded sang, no larger

than one seed of mustard,

that all things return to.

O heart, if you

will not, cannot, give me the lake,

then give me the song.

- Lake and Maple, by Jane Hirshfield


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