The House in Winter

in the year’s late tidewash,
a corner cupboard suddenly wavers
in low-flung sunlight,
cupboard never quite visible before.

Its jars
of last summer’s peaches
have come into their native gold—
not the sweetness of last summer,
but today’s,
fresh from the tree of winter.
The mouth swallows peach, and says gold.

Though they dazzle and are gone,
the halves of fruit, the winter light,
the cupboard it has swept back into shadow.

As inhaled swiftly or slowly,
the sweet-wood scent goes out the same –
saying, not world but the bright self breathing;
saying, not self but the world’s bright breath.
Saying finally, always, gone,
the deep shelves of systole and diastole empty.

Or perhaps it is
that the house only constructs itself
while we look –
opens, from room to room, because we look.
The wood, the glass, the linen, flinging themselves
into form at the clap of our footsteps.
As the hard-dormant
peach tree wades into blossom and leaf
at the spring sun’s knock: neither surprised
nor expectant, but every cell awakened at that knock.

— Jane Hirshfield

February Birthdays

February 2 Ayn Rand (Russian-American, born 1905)

February 3 Simone Weil (French, born 1909)

February 6 Antoine Arnauld (French, born 1612)

February 7 Thomas More (British, born 1477)

February 8 Martin Buber (Austrian-Israeli, born 1878)

February 11 Hans-Georg Gadamer (German, born 1900)

February 15 Galileo Galilei (Italian, born 1564), Jeremy Bentham (British, born 1748), and Alfred North Whitehead (British, born 1861)

February 21 John Rawls (American, born 1921)

February 22 Arthur Schopenhauer (Polish, born 1788)

February 23 Karl Robert Eduard von Hartmann (German, born 1842), Karl Jaspers (German, born 1883), and W.E.B. DuBois (American, born 1868)

February 24 Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (Polish, born 1885), Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (Italian, born 1463)

February 25 Benedetto Croce (Italian,born 1866)

February 26 Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury (British, born 1671)

February 27 Rudolph Steiner (Austrian, born 1861), Paul Ricoeur (French, born 1913), L.E.J. Brouwer (Dutch, born 1881), and George Herbert Mead (American, born 1863)

February 28 Michel de Montaigne (French, born 1533)

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