Poet Jane Hirshfield said "... the feeling I have about poem-writing (is) that it is always an exploration, of discovering something I didn't already know.  Who I am shifts from moment to moment, year to year.  What I can perceive does as well.  A new poem peers into mystery, into whatever lies just beyond the edge of knowable ground."

I bring a different poem to the writing classes each week, not only to inspire but to introduce new poets to the group members.

Sisters by Grace Paley

My friends are dying
well we're old     it's natural
one day we passed the experience of "older"
which began in late middle age
and came suddenly upon "old" then
all the little killing bugs an
baby tumors that had struggled
for years against the body's
brave immunities found their
level playing fields and
victory

but this is not what I meant to
tell you     I wanted to say that
my friends were dying but have now
become absent     the word dead is correct
but inappropriate

I have not taken their names out of
conversation   gossip   political argument
my telephone book or card index in
whatever alphabetical or contextual
organizer     I can stop any evening of
the lonesome week at Claiborne   Bercovivi
Vernarelli   Deming and rest a moment
on their seriousness as artists   workers
their excitement as political actors in the
streets of our cities or in their workplaces
the vigiling   fasting   praying in or out
of jail   their lighthearted ness which floated
above the year's despair
their courageous sometimes hilarious
disobediences before the state's official
servants     their fidelity to the idea that
it is possible with only a little extra anguish
to live in this world     at absolute minimum
loving brainy sexual energetic redeemed

~ from Fidelity (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008)


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