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.

Hard Song by Barry Dempster

There are no grey songs on the radio,
no ratty little hearts making do.
It’s all about loving or hating
some universal you, valves pulsing
with lust or being ripped to bits,
a storm of skin and bone confetti.
The singer sips from an open wound,
a blood bubble poised between his lips.
One song, he’s dying, a note pitched
so high it’s lost; the next, he’s pledging
discovery, a big red kiss
doing it’s brazen best.
I wonder which kind I sing the loudest,
a sliver of me embedded
in a puffy mound of faith.
Slammed I am, too many times
to count, an angry welt that used to be
my face.  I’m up, I’m down, falling
in and out, racing passion
before it crashes, bliss and misery
like Siamese twins joined at the throat.

My favourite is the one where his love
keeps trouncing distance
even after she's gone, making
harmonies out of death rattles.
It's the crack in his heart
where the melody lingers, the hiss
of an old 45. How can I help
but sing along, hard, hard song,
unconditional illusion.

~ from Love Outlandish (Brick Books, 2009)

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