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.

Rembrandt's Late Self-Portraits by Elizabeth Jennings

You are confronted with yourself. Each year 
The pouches fill, the skin is uglier. 
You give it all unflinchingly. You stare 
Into yourself, beyond. Your brush's care 
Runs with self-knowledge. Here 

Is a humility at one with craft. 
There is no arrogance. Pride is apart 
From this self-scrutiny. You make light drift 
The way you want. Your face is bruised and hurt 
But there is still love left. 

Love of the art and others. To the last 
Experiment went on. You stared beyond 
Your age, the times. You also plucked the past 
And tempered it. Self-portraits understand, 
And old age can divest, 

With truthful changes, us of fear of death. 
Look, a new anguish. There, the bloated nose, 
The sadness and the joy. To paint's to breathe, 
And all the darknesses are dared. You chose 
What each must reckon with. 

~ From Collected Poems (Carcanet, 1987)

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