Jane Hirshfield

Zero Plus Anything is a World
September 15, 2012 Hirshfield Jane

Zero Plus Anything is a World


Four less one is three.


Three less two is one.


One less three

is what, is who,



The first cell that learned to divide

learned to subtract.



add salt to hunger.



add time to trees.


Zero plus anything

is a world.


This one

and no other,


by each breath changed.



add death to life.



love without swerve what this will bring.


Sister, father, mother, husband, daughter.


Like a cello

forgiving one note as it goes,

then another.

Jane Hirshfield‘s most recent, eighth book of poetry, The Beauty (Knopf, 2015) was long listed for the National Book Award; her second collection of essays, Ten Windows (Knopf, 2015) received the Northern California Book Award. Her work appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, Poetry, and eight edition of The Best American Poetry. From 2012-2017, she served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.