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.

In Praise of My Sister by Wislawa Szymborska

My sister doesn’t write poems.
and I don’t think she’ll suddenly start writing poems.
She is like her mother, who didn’t write poems,
and like her father, who didn’t write poems either.
Under my sister’s roof I feel safe:
my sister’s husband would rather die than write poems.
And—this begins to sound like a found poem—
the truth is, none of my relations is engaged in writing poems.

There are no old poems in my sister’s files,
and there aren’t any new ones in her handbag,
And when my sister invites me to lunch,
I know she has no plans to read me her poems.
Her soups are excellently improvised.
There is no coffee spilt on manuscripts.

There are many families where no one writes poems,
but where they do—it’s rarely just one person.
Sometimes poetry splashes down in cascades of generations,
creating terrible whirlpools in mutual feelings.

My sister cultivates a quite good spoken prose
and her writing’s restricted to holiday postcards,
the text promising the same each year:
that when she returns
she’ll tell us
all
all
all about it.

~translated by Adam Czerniawski from The Ecco Anthology of
International Poetry, edited by Ilya Kaminsky and Susan Harris
(HarperCollins, 2010)


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