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.

Us by Zaffar Kunial

If you ask me, us takes in undulations –
each wave in the sea, all insides compressed –
as if, from one coast, you could reach out to

the next; and maybe it’s a Midlands thing
but when I was young, us equally meant me,
says the one, ‘Oi, you, tell us where yer from’;

and the way supporters share the one fate –
I, being one, am Liverpool no less –
cresting the Mexican wave of we or us,

a shore-like state, two places at once, God
knows what’s in it; and, at opposite ends
my heart’s sunk at separations of us.

When it comes to us, colour me unsure.
Something in me, or it, has failed the course.
I’d love to think I could stretch to it – us –

but the waves therein are too wide for words.
I hope you get, here, where I’m coming from.
I hope you’re with me on this – between love

and loss – where I’d give myself away, stranded
as if the universe is a matter of one stress.
Us. I hope, from here on, I can say it

and though far-fetched, it won’t be too far wrong.

~ from Border Lines, Poems of Migration (Alfred A Knopf, 2020)


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