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.

Purring by Coleman Barks

The internet says science is not sure
 how cats purr, probably
 a vibration of the whole larynx,
 unlike what we do when we talk.

 Less likely, a blood vessel 
 moving across the chest wall.

 As a child I tried to make every cat I met 
 purr. That was one of the early miracles, 
 the stroking to perfection.

 Here is something I have never heard:
 a feline purrs in two conditions,
 when deeply content and when
 mortally wounded, to calm themselves,
 readying for the death-opening.

 The low frequency evidently helps 
 to strengthen bones and heal 
 damaged organs.

 Say poetry is a human purr,
 vessel mooring in the chest,
 a closed-mouthed refuge, the feel
 of a glide through dying.

 One winter morning on a sunny chair,
 inside this only body,
 a far-off inboard motorboat
 sings the empty room, urrrrrrrhhhh
           urrrrrrrhhhhh
           urrrrrrrhhhh

~ from Winter Sky: New and Selected Poems, 1968–2008. 
© University of Georgia Press, 2008.


website contents © copyright 2017 by Sharon Singer
with the exception of 'poems of the week' where © copyright remains with the poets or their publishers