In Come, Thief, poet Jane Hirshfield focuses on the lovely but overlooked things in everyday life: stones that are beautiful only when wet, maples setting down their red leaves, the rosy gold and stippled pattern of her grandfather's watch. Using clear, straightforward language, she finds the meaning in what could be—in less observant hands—the meaningless, often with a flash of unexpected humor. "Like moonlight seen in a well," she writes "the one who sees it blocks it." The majority of these slender, incandescent poems, however, unpack the passage of time, revealing what it demands of us as we age and how it molds us as people. The result is not the expected plummet into grief. For every loss she mourns, she celebrates the moments of vitality that made the loss significant.
In "French Horn," Hirshfield writes: "For a few days only / The plum tree outside the window / shoulders perfection. No matter the plums will be small, / eaten only by squirrels and jays." Proving that when it comes to plums (and squirrels), so much depends on the outlook of the poet.
— Natalie Tebbi