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.

Whittling: The Last Class by John Stone

What has been written

about whittling 

is not true

most of it

It is the discovery

that keeps

the fingers moving

not idleness

but the knife looking for 

the right plane

that will let the secret out

Whittling is no pastime

he says

who has been whittling 

in spare minutes at the wood

of his life for forty years

Three rules he thinks

have helped 

Make small cuts

In this way

you may be able to stop before

what was to be an arm

has to be something else

Always whittle away from yourself

and toward something.
For God's sake

and your own

know when to stop

Whittling is the best example

I know of what most 

may happen when

least expected

bad or good

Hurry before

angina comes like a pair of pliers

over your left shoulder

There is plenty of wood

for everyone 

and you

Go ahead now

May you find

in the waiting wood

rough unspoken

what is true


nearly true


true enough.

~ from Music from Apartment 8 (Louisiana State University Press, 2004)

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