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.

Canning by Joyce Sutphen

It’s what she does and what her mother did.
It’s what I’d do if I were anything
like her mother’s mother—or if the times
demanded that I work in my garden,
planting rows of beans and carrots, weeding
the pickles and potatoes, picking worms
off the cabbages.
                         Today she's canning
tomatoes, which means there are baskets
of red Jubilees waiting on the porch
and she’s been in the cellar looking for jars.
There’s a box of lids and a heap of gold
rings on the counter. She gets the spices
out; she revs the engine of the old stove.

Now I declare her Master of Preserves!
I say that if there were degrees in canning
she would be summa cum laude—God knows
she’s spent as many hours at the sink peeling
the skins off hot tomatoes as I have
bent over a difficult text. I see
her at the window, filling up the jar,
packing a glass suitcase for the winter.

~ from First Words. (Red Dragonfly Press, 2010)


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