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.

Ode to Family Photographs by Gary Soto

This is the pond, and these are my feet. 
This is the rooster, and this is more of my feet. 

Mama was never good at pictures. 

This is a statue of a famous general who lost an arm, 
And this is me with my head cut off. 

This is a trash can chained to a gate, 
This is my father with his eyes half-closed. 

This is a photograph of my sister 
And a giraffe looking over her shoulder. 

This is our car's front bumper. 
This is a bird with a pretzel in its beak. 
This is my brother Pedro standing on one leg on a rock, 
With a smear of chocolate on his face. 

Mama sneezed when she looked 
Behind the camera: the snapshots are blurry, 
The angles dizzy as a spin on a merry-go-round. 

But we had fun when Mama picked up the camera. 
How can I tell? 
Each of us is laughing hard. 
Can you see? I have candy in my mouth. 

~ From Neighborhood Odes (Harcourt, 1992)


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