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.

Night Bus to Prince George by Heather Spears

Two girls got on at Terrace 
children, almost, as they passed  
I took in, 
in this order, their smell
their matted hair, their wretched
packs and clothes.  
They sat behind me, talked 
like records running down
of a boy one of them ‘almost fell for’
and one who ‘finished the section for me yesterday’ 
‘Oh him—I wouldn’t—‘ 
suddenly, both were asleep, upright,
silence from then on.  And the whole time
this smell, recognized instantly,
not cigarettes
or age or illness, just plain sour
animal human dirt—
follicles, cells, pores, the uninhibited skin’s
ordinary youth and health.

And as their voices failed in sleep
I thought of the camp—hours on the slope 
mosquitoes, coughs, a boy calling,
earth under their short nails
grit in the corners of their brilliant eyes
hair shoved back, narrow napes and writsts
scratched from bites and thorns,
then, pissing in the bush,
perfect teeth tearing off bread, squak and snap
of a Pepsi can,
and the tent, the hard ground
countdown into exhaustion
asleep with their clothes on.

I won’t smell this again
perfume of the tree planters
it’s from away back
it’s real 
drowsing, I wish
it were not wasted on me, I dream
a young, blind man
in my seat, abandoning
his perfect senses to it all night long
drinking this sweetness in.
 
~ from Poems, Selected and New (Wolsak and Wynn, 1998)


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with the exception of 'poems of the week' where © copyright remains with the poets or their publishers