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.

Saturday At The Canal by Gary Soto

I was hoping to be happy by seventeen. 
School was a sharp check mark in the roll book, 
An obnoxious tuba playing at noon because our team 
Was going to win at night. The teachers were 
Too close to dying to understand.  The hallways 
Stank of poor grades and unwashed hair. Thus, 
A friend and I sat watching the water on Saturday, 
Neither of us talking much, just warming ourselves 
By hurling large rocks at the dusty ground 
And feeling awful because San Francisco was a postcard 
On a bedroom wall. We wanted to go there,  
Hitchhike under the last migrating birds 
And be with people who knew more than three chords 
On a guitar. We didn't drink or smoke, 
But our hair was shoulder length, wild when 
The wind picked up and the shadows of 
This loneliness gripped loose dirt. By bus or car, 
By the sway of train over a long bridge, 
We wanted to get out. The years froze 
As we sat on the bank. Our eyes followed the water, 
White-tipped but dark underneath, racing out of town.

~from Poetry 180, Selected by Billy Collins (Random House, 2003)


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