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.

When Death Comes by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
 
to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
 
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
 
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
 
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
 
and I think of each life as a flower, as common 
as a field daisy, and as singular,
 
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
 
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
 
When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
 
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
 
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
 
~ from New and Selected Poems (Beacon Press, 1993)


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with the exception of 'poems of the week' where © copyright remains with the poets or their publishers