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.

No Things by Billy Collins

This love for the petty things,
part natural from the slow of childhood,
part a literary affectation,

this attention to the morning flower
and later in the day to a fly
strolling along the rim of a wineglass —

are we just avoiding the one true destiny,
when we do that? averting our eyes from
Philip Larkin who waits for us in an undertaker’s coat?

The leafless branches against the sky
will not save anyone form the infinity of death,
nor will the sugar bowl or the sugar spoon on the table.

So why bother with the checkerboard lighthouse?
Why waste time on the sparrow,
or the wildflowers along the roadside

when we should all be alone in our rooms
throwing ourselves against the wall of life
and the opposite wall of death,

the door locked behind us
as we hurl ourselves at the question of meaning,
and the enigma of our origins?

What good is the firefly, 
the droplet running along the green leaf,
or even the bar of soap spinning around the bathtub

when ultimately we are meant to be
banging away on the mystery
as hard as we can and to hell with the neighbors?

banging away on nothingness itself, 
some with the foreheads,
others with the maul of sense, the raised jawbone of poetry.

~ from Aimless Love, New and Selected Poems (Random House, 2013)


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