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.

A Question About Birds by Billy Collins

I am going to sit on a rock near some water
or on a slope of grass
under a high ceiling of white clouds,
 
and I am going to stop talking
so I can wander around in that spot
the way John James Audubon might have wandered
 
through a forest of speckled sunlight,
stopping now and then to lean
against an elm, mop his brow,
 
and listen to the songs of birds.
Did he wonder, as I often do, 
how they regard the songs of other species?
 
Would it be like listening to the Chinese
merchants at an outdoor market?
Or do all the birds perfectly understand one another?
 
Or is that nervous chittering
I often hear from the upper branches
the sound of some tireless little translator?

~ from horoscopes for the dead (Random House, 2011)


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