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.

What Kind of a Person by Yehuda Amichai

"What kind of a person are you," I heard them say to me.
I'm a person with a complex plumbing of the soul,
Sophisticated instruments of feeling and a system
Of controlled memory at the end of the twentieth century,
But with an old body from ancient times
And with a God even older than my body.
 
I'm a person for the surface of the earth.
Low places, caves and wells
Frighten me. Mountain peaks
And tall buildings scare me.

I'm not like an inserted fork,
Not a cutting knife, not a stuck spoon. 
I'm not flat and sly
Like a spatula creeping up from below.
At most I am a heavy and clumsy pestle
Mashing good and bad together
For a little taste
And a little fragrance. 

Arrows do not direct me. I conduct
My business carefully and quietly
Like a long will that began to be written
The moment I was born. 

Now I stand at the side of the street
Weary, leaning on a parking meter.
I can stand here for nothing, free. 

I'm not a car, I'm a person,
A man-god, a god-man
Whose days are numbered. Hallelujah. 

~ from A Life of Poetry: 1948 - 1994, translated from the Hebrew 
by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav, (HarperCollins, 1994)


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