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.

The Clasp by Sharon Olds

She was four, he was one, it was raining, we had colds,
we had been in the apartment two weeks straight.
I grabbed her to keep her from shoving him over on his 
face, again, and when I had her wrist 
in my grasp I compressed it, fiercely, for almost a
second, to make an impression on her,
to hurt her, our beloved firstborn, I even nearly
savored the stinging sensation of the squeezing, the
expression, into her, of my anger, 
“Never, never again,” the righteous 
chant accompanying the clasp.  It happened very
fast—grab, crush, crush,
crush, release—and at the first extra
force, she swung her head, as if checking 
who this was, and looked at me,
and saw me—yes this was her mom,
her mom was doing this.  Her dark,
deeply open eyes took me
in, she knew me, in the shock of the moment
she learned me.  This was her mother, one of 
the two whom she most loved, the two
who loved her most, near the source of love
was this.

~ from Strike Sparks: Seclected Poems, 1980-2002 
(Alfred A Knopf, division of Random House Inc, 2004)


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