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.

Mule Heart by Jane Hirshfield

On the days when the rest 
have failed you, 
let this much be yours - 
flies, dust, an unnameable odor,
the two waiting baskets:
one for the lemons and passion,
the other for all that you have lost.
Both empty, 
it will come to your shoulder,
breathe slowly against your bare arm.
If you offer it hay, it will eat.
Offered nothing,
it will stand as long as you ask. 
The little bells of the bridle will hang
beside you quietly, 
in the heat and the tree's thin shade.
Do not let its sparse mane deceive you,
or the way the left ear swivels into dream.
This too is a gift of the gods,
calm and complete.

~ from The Lives of the Heart (Harper Perrenial, 1997)


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