Monday, July 6, 2009

William Stafford, A Poet Who Inspires Me, Always

When I Met My Muse
By William Stafford

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off—they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. "I am your own
way of looking at things," she said. "When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation." And I took her hand.


Just Thinking
By William Stafford

Got up on a cool morning. Leaned out a window.
No cloud, no wind. Air that flowers held
for awhile. Some dove somewhere.

Been on probation most of my life. And
the rest of my life been condemned. So these moments
count for a lot—peace, you know.

Let the bucket of memory down into the well,
bring it up. Cool, cool minutes. No one
stirring, no plans. Just being there.

This is what the whole thing is about.


Waking at 3 a.m.
By William Stafford

Even in the cave of the night when you
wake and are free and lonely,
neglected by others, discarded, loved only
by what doesn't matter—even in that
big room no one can see,
you push with your eyes till forever
comes in its twisted figure eight
and lies down in your head.

You think water in the river;
you think slower than the tide in
the grain of the wood; you become
a secret storehouse that saves the country,
so open and foolish and empty.

You look over all that the darkness
ripples across. More than has ever
been found comforts you. You open your
eyes in a vault that unlocks as fast
and as far as your thought can run.
A great snug wall goes around everything,
has always been there, will always
remain. It is a good world to be
lost in. It comforts you. It is
all right. And you sleep.



Rikkij said...

Marion- this part was for me, "Been on probation most of my life. And
the rest of my life been condemned. So these moments
count for a lot—peace, you know."
Nice stuff you found there. You must be in a mellow mood today. See ya tomorrow. ~rick

Marion said...

Yeah, Rick. Rain always makes me mellow. Glad you enjoyed the poems. Tomorrow----Blessings!!

Pam said...

Wonderful choice of poets and choice of poems.

Margaret Pangert said...

God, I love Stafford. I had his poem "Being a Person" in my blog's quote of the day at one time: "Be a person here. Stand by the river, invoke the owls. . . How you stand here is important. How you listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe." Did you know he became the Poet Laureate of Oregon? Some trivia. "A great snug wall goes around everything," He let's you know how to be, how to know you're all right.

Woman in a Window said...

The muse. It speaks to me. I take her hand and hope like hell that she won't let go, but if she does I hope I'm left with a big dumb smile on my face.

Yes, you were moving very slowly through these poems Marion. And now it's Tuesday and I'll be darned if it's not raining here. The clouds had better clear before tonight.

Kelly said...

I enjoyed this post. I've come to depend on you, Marion, for broadening my poetic horizons!

Marion said...

Margaret, I should have known you'd love Stafford. We seem to have the same taste in books and poetry. Yes, Mr. Stafford and I have been acquainted for many years. I consider him one of my teachers in this class we call life.

Erin, I hear you. The muse, she is a fickle female. I've been trying to invoke her all morning and she's got her back to me, her arms crossed and keeps stamping her foot hollering "NO!" every time I ask her for words for my poem. I had to put my notebook away, do a load of laundry and ignore her haughty ass for a while. She'll come around, though. She always does because I know she needs me as much as I need her. We feed off each other---parasites!


Kelly, thank you. It's nice to be depended upon, especially for something as important as poetry. I depened on your visits, too! Hugs!

Renee said...

Holy shit, he is amazing.

Love Renee xoox

Marion said...

Thanks, Renee. He totally rocks!! Blessing!!

Judith Ellis said...

Wonderful! One of my dearest friends, Naomi Shihab Nye, was very close to Mr. Stafford.

Marion said...

Judith, I'm always amazed at what a full life you've lead (and still do lead)! I've written poetry all my life and have always envied those who got to go to college or take creative writing classes with the great poets or go to the Iowa Writer's Workshops and such. My biggest regret is not doing more for myself in the realm of poetry. I've taught myself through reading and studying other poets and listening to my heart. Thanks for stopping by! Blessings!