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.

Sifter by Naomi Shihab-Nye

When our English teacher gave 
our first writing invitation of the year,
Become a kitchen implement
in 2 descriptive paragraphs
, I did not think
butcher knife or frying pan,
I thought immediately
of soft flour showering throught the little holes
of the sifter and the sifter’s pleasing circular
swishing sound, and wrote it down.
Rhoda became a teaspoon,
Roberto a funnel,
Jim a muffin time
and Forrest a soup pot.
We read our paragraphs ourt loud.
Abby was a blender. Everyone laughed
and acted but the more we thought about it,
we were all everything in the whole kitchen,
drawers and drainers,
singing teapot and grapefruit spoon
with serrated edges, we were all the
empty cup, the tray.
This, said our teacher, is the beauty of metaphor.
It opens doors.

What I could not know then
was how being a sifter
would help me all year long.
When bad days came
I would close my eyes and feel them passing
through the tiny holes.
When good days came
I would try to contain them gently
the way flour remains
in the sifter until you turn the handle.
Time, time. I was a sweet sifter in time
and no one ever knew.

~ from A Maze Me (Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins, 2005)


website contents © copyright 2017 by Sharon Singer
with the exception of 'poems of the week' where © copyright remains with the poets or their publishers