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.

Mothers by Nikki Giovanni

the last time i was home
to see my mother we kissed
exchanged pleasantries
and unpleasantries pulled a warm   
comforting silence around
us and read separate books

i remember the first time
i consciously saw her
we were living in a three room   
apartment on burns avenue

mommy always sat in the dark
i don’t know how i knew that but she did

that night i stumbled into the kitchen
maybe because i’ve always been
a night person or perhaps because i had wet
the bed
she was sitting on a chair
the room was bathed in moonlight diffused through   
  tiny window panes   
she may have been smoking but maybe not
her hair was three-quarters her height
which made me a strong believer in the samson myth   
and very black

i’m sure i just hung there by the door
i remember thinking: what a beautiful lady
she was very deliberately waiting
perhaps for my father to come home   
from his night job or maybe for a dream
that had promised to come by   
“come here” she said “i’ll teach you   
a poem: i see the moon
               the moon sees me
               god bless the moon
               and god bless me”   
i taught it to my son
who recited it for her
just to say we must learn   
to bear the pleasures
as we have borne the pains

~ from Love Poems (William Morrow and Co, 1997)


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