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 Illness by Manoel de Barros

I never lived far from my country.
However I suffer from farness.
In my childhood my mother had the illness.
She was the one who gave it to me.
Later my father went to work at a place
that gave this illness to people.
It was a place without a name or neighbors.
People said it was the nail on the toe at the end of the world.
We grew up without any other houses nearby.
A place that offered only birds, trees, a river and its fish.
There were unbridled horses in the scrub grass,
their backs covered with butterflies.
The rest was only distance.
Distance was an empty thing we carried in the eye,
what my father called exile.

~ from Birds for a Demolition,  translated from the 
Portuguese by Idra Novey. (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2010)


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