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 Would Like to Describe by Zbigniew Herbert

I would like to describe the simplest emotion 
joy or sadness 
but not as others do 
reaching for shafts of rain or sun  

I would like to describe a light 
which is being born in me 
but I know it does not resemble 
any star 
for it is not so bright 
not so pure 
and is uncertain  

I would like to describe courage 
without dragging behind me a dusty lion 
and also anxiety 
without shaking a glass full of water  

to put it another way 
I would give all metaphors 
in return for one word 
drawn out of my breast like a rib 
for one word 
contained within the boundaries 
of my skin  

but apparently this is not possible  

and just to say - I love 
I run around like mad 
picking up handfuls of birds 
and my tenderness 
which after all is not made of water 
asks the water for a face 
and anger 
different from fire 
borrows from it 
a loquacious tongue  

so is blurred 
so is blurred 
in me 
what white-haired gentlemen 
separated once and for all 
and said  
this is the subject 
and this is the object  

we fall asleep 
with one hand under our head 
and with the other in a mound of planets  

our feet abandon us 
and taste the earth 
with their tiny roots 
which next morning 
we tear out painfully

~from The Collected Poems 1956-1998 (Ecco, an imprint of 
HarperCollins Publishers, 2007)


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