Jennifer (Jinks) Hoffmann

In Issue 10 on April 2, 2012 at 11:09 am

Stafford as Companion. Dolphin as Mentor.

He had
“a voice…so intimate and collective
at once. How did he do this?
An intense awareness of presence
and absence…He embraced and saluted
the process of working.
He meandered, and valued the turns.
He honoured, while demystifying
anything that rang of pomp.
He dug in the ground. He picked
things up and looked at them.”

Naomi Shihab Nye
on William Stafford:

Stripes toward the horizon. Deep navy.
Light turquoise. Navy. Aquamarine.
Navy. Poised exactly on the horizon,
three triangular sailboats. Pocket
handkerchief size. Whipped cream foam
at the liminal edge of sand and sea.

She picks up the shell she just stubbed
her toe on; sheepishly holds it to her ear.
She feels a bit like those beach-walkers
who wear headsets all the time.
They’re listening to the sound of the waves
, she jokes to her sweetheart.

How can anyone bear to interfere?

There is so much, that digesting
just a morsel of what lies underfoot,
overfoot, on the horizon,
in the crystal clarity of today’s water;
just watching the school of sheepshead
do their zebra imitations;
just seeing tiny shellfish burrowing back
into the sand as the wave recedes, invisible
once again; just watching one pelican plunge,
one skimmer skim;
just being present
for two moments
could overwhelm.

Aldous Huxley was right. We do filter.
For to be so alive means that you know
what you don’t.

She watches a dolphin close to shore.
The dolphin breaks the ocean’s surface
like a ballerina’s hands in second position.
Gently leaves sight again barely causing
a ruffle or ripple. In. Out. Languid. Grace itself.

This, she decides, is how to manage it.


Jennifer (Jinks) Hoffmann is a psychotherapist and spiritual director. Two of her primary spiritual practices are her poetry writing and her work with her dreams. She has been married for forty-seven years, and despite being “only” sixty-nine, has seventeen grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Jinks grew up in South Africa but now lives with husband in Canada. Her poetry has been published in a variety of different places in Canada, the US and Israel. Jinks is on the Coordinating Council of Spiritual Directors International.

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