Come, Thief

Jane Hirshfield's poetry gives eloquent voice to moments, creatures, and landscapes often overlooked.

Come, Thief By Jane Hirshfield Knopf 89 pp.

Jane Hirshfield’s Come, Thief is a must-have collection that beautifully demonstrates why some books should be read more than once. The eloquent volume highlights the importance of paying attention to the moments, creatures, and landscapes that people often overlook. Hirshfield’s keen eye informs every poem, with small details hinting at larger forces. Even pets can be vehicles for greater understanding. In “Narrowness,” she writes: “Day after day,/ my neighbors’ cats in the garden./ Each in a distant spot,/ like wary planets./ One brindled gray,/ one black and white,/ one orange./ They remind of the feelings:/ how one cannot know another completely.”

Hirshfield, who has published six previous collections, uses gorgeous imagery, as always, to convey the bittersweet nature of life and to explore timeless subjects such as beauty, loss, and envy. She skillfully serves as both shaman and teacher, nudging readers toward a compassionate, fully engaged perspective, even as time and the transient world seem to steal what people love.

“There is no kindness here, no flint of mercy,” she says in “The Pear.” Yet the act of watching and witnessing still provides meaning and richness. Few contemporary poets can render a moment as well as Hirshfield, whose work has earned many awards and appeared in six editions of The Best American Poetry.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Come, Thief
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today