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 Boat by Margaret Atwood

Evening comes on and the hills thicken;

red and yellow bleaching out of the leaves.

The chill pines grow their shadows.

Below them the water stills itself,

a sunset shivering in it.

One more going down to join the others.

Now the lake expands

and closes in, both.


he blackness that keeps itself

under the surface in daytime

emerges from it like mist

or as mist.

Distance vanishes, the absence

of distance pushes against the eyes.

There is no seeing the lake,

only the outlines of the hills

which are almost identical,

familiar to me as sleep,

shores unfolding upon shores

in their contours of slowed breathing.

It is touch I go by,

the boat like a hand feeling

through shoals and among

dead trees, over the boulders

lifting unseen, layer

on layer of drowned time falling away.

This is how I learned to steer

through darkness by no stars.

To be lost is only a failure of memory.

~from Selected Poems II: 1976-1986 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1987)

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