Little Altars Everywhere

In the dream the string had broken
and I was trying to
pick out its beads among all others.

The large coral beads,
the beads of turquoise and ivory—
these were not mine.
Carved and ridged with color, burnished, weighty—
my hands passed over them without regret or pause.

The tiny ones,
of glass,
almost invisible against the white cotton bedspread—
these were mine.

The hole in the center
scarcely discernible as different from the bead itself,
the bead around it
scarcely discernible as different from the bed or floor or air—

with trembling fingers
I lifted them
into the jar my other hand cupped closely to one breast.

Not precious, merely glass, almost invisible.
How terrified I was at the thought of missing even one.

While I live, I thought, they are mine to care for.

Then wakened heavy with what I recognized at once
as an entirely warranted grief,

frantic for something plain and clear
and almost without substance,
that I myself had scattered, that I myself must find.

– Jane Hirshfield, “Silk Cord”

8 thoughts on “Little Altars Everywhere

  1. After I read this just now, I was struck by the truth: That your sharing these in your blog is a form of speaking the words out loud – sending them into the ether, and others are touched.

  2. Hello Sheila, I love your blog! Little Altars Everywhere and what you share with us from your Dream Boards are so inspiring and always touch some aspect of my life, allowing me a different or new perspective. Thank you for sharing both the beauty and the fragility!


    • Wow thanks Anne.

      Blogging has changed so much (even from when I started just 4 years ago). I sometimes wonder what the heck I’m doing in this space since I’m not selling anything or marketing myself in anyway. I frequently think I’m a dinosaur. But so be it. Lol.

      You made my day.

  3. I just got Saved by a Poem – and this might be the one that Saves ME. Love it and you. XO Printing it out right now:)

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