Jane Hirshfield
An Earthly Beauty

Others have described

the metal bull placed over fire,

it singing while the man inside it died.

Which emperor listened, in which country,

doesn't matter, though surely

the thing itself was built by slaves.

An unearthly music, all reports agree.

We—the civilized—hearing this story,

recoil from it in horror: Not us. Not ours.

But why does my heart look back at me,

reproachful? Why does the bull?

Found In Volume , No. 04
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Jane Hirshfield
About the Author

Hirshfield’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, Harper’s, The Nation, Orion,  Poetry, eight editions of The Best American Poetry, four Pushcart Prize Anthologies, and many other publications.  In 2012, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.