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.

I Went into the Maverick Bar by Gary Snyder

I went into the Maverick Bar   
In Farmington, New Mexico.
And drank double shots of bourbon
        backed with beer.
My long hair was tucked up under a cap
I’d left the earring in the car.

Two cowboys did horseplay
         by the pool tables,
A waitress asked us
         where are you from?
a country-and-western band began to play   
“We don’t smoke Marijuana in Muskokie”   
And with the next song,
         a couple began to dance.

They held each other like in High School dances   
          in the fifties;
I recalled when I worked in the woods
          and the bars of Madras, Oregon.   
That short-haired joy and roughness—
          America—your stupidity.   
I could almost love you again.

We left—onto the freeway shoulders—
           under the tough old stars—
In the shadow of bluffs
          I came back to myself,
To the real work, to
         “What is to be done.”

~ from Turtle Island (New Directions, 1974)


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