Amor Fati

Mary Alayne Thomas

This issue's poetry page.

Little soul,
you have wandered
lost a long time.

The woods all dark now,
birded and eyed.

Then a light, a cabin, a fire, a door standing open.

The fairy tales warn you:
Do not go in,
you who would eat will be eaten.

You go in. You quicken.

You want to have feet.
You want to have eyes.
You want to have fears.

Excerpted from Ledgerby Jane Hirshfield. © 2020 by Jane Hirshfield. Available for sale on March 10. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Amor fati—”the love of fate”—could be the hidden title of almost any poem. Poems work to knit us into our lives more deeply, to bring us more fully into the world’s foundational breadth, depth, and chiaroscuro beauty. To love your life means agreeing to its joys, warmth, light, and also to its ferocities and transience. This poem was written when a friend of forty years was dying. Its vow of amor fati is the yes-to-it-all, the yes offered even to death, that is the entrance ticket to existence. 

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