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.

Whale Day by Billy Collins

Today I was awakened by strong coffee	
and the awareness that the earth is busy with whales
even thought we can’t see any
unless we have embarked on a whale watch,
which would be disappointing if we still couldn’t see any.

I can see the steam rising from my yellow up,	
the usual furniture scattered about,
and even some early light filtering through the palms.

Meanwhile, thousands of whales are cruising	
along at various speeds under the seas,	

crisscrossing one another, slaloming in and out
of the Gulf Stream, some with their calves	
traveling alongside—such big blunt heads they have!

So is it too much to ask that one day a year	
be set aside for keeping in mind
while we step onto a bus, consume a ham sandwich,
or stoop to pick p a coin from a sidewalk
the multitude of these mammoth creatures
coasting between the continents, 
some for the fun of it, others purposeful in their journeys,	

all concealed under the sea, unless somewhere
one breaks the surface
with an astonishing upheaval of water
and all the people in yellow slickers
rush to one side of the boat to pint and shout
and wonder how to tell their friends about the day they saw a whale?

~ from Whale Day (Random House, 2020)


website contents © copyright 2022 by Sharon Singer
with the exception of 'poems of the week' where © copyright remains with the poets or their publishers