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.

I Go Back to May 1937 by Sharon Olds

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges, 
I see my father strolling out 
under the ochre sandstone arch, the   
red tiles glinting like bent 
plates of blood behind his head, I 
see my mother with a few light books at her hip 
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks, 
the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its 
sword-tips aglow in the May air, 
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,   
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are   
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.   
I want to go up to them and say Stop,   
don’t do it—she’s the wrong woman,   
he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things 
you cannot imagine you would ever do,   
you are going to do bad things to children, 
you are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of, 
you are going to want to die. I want to go 
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it, 
her hungry pretty face turning to me,   
her pitiful beautiful untouched body, 
his arrogant handsome face turning to me,   
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,   
but I don’t do it. I want to live. I   
take them up like the male and female   
paper dolls and bang them together   
at the hips, like chips of flint, as if to   
strike sparks from them, I say 
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.

~ from The Gold Cell (Alfred A. Knopf, 1987)


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