The Stars Know Your Name: A Poem for Sunday

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Full Member
Sep 25, 2014
Though any day is a good day for a poem. This from American poet, William Stafford, 1914-1993

"One striking feature of his career is its late start. Stafford was 46 years old when his first major collection of poetry was published, Traveling Through the Dark, which won the 1963 National Book Award for Poetry.[3] The title poem is one of his best known works. It describes encountering a recently killed doe on a mountain road. Before pushing the doe into a canyon, the narrator discovers that she was pregnant and the fawn inside is still alive.

Stafford had a quiet daily ritual of writing and his writing focuses on the ordinary. His gentle quotidian style has been compared to Robert Frost.[by whom?] Paul Merchant writes, "His poems are accessible, sometimes deceptively so, with a conversational manner that is close to everyday speech. Among predecessors whom he most admired are William Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson."[4] His poems are typically short, focusing on the earthy, accessible details appropriate to a specific locality. Stafford said this in a 1971 interview: I keep following this sort of hidden river of my life, you know, whatever the topic or impulse which comes, I follow it along trustingly. And I don't have any sense of its coming to a kind of crescendo, or of its petering out either. It is just going steadily along.

Hidden rivers. That's it, I think. That's it really.
William Stafford penned a poem that well describes the doubt as well as the certainty in the mind of a writer presenting their work to the world.

A Tentative Welcome To Readers

It is my hope that those who blame

these tentatives may find some other

reading and be supremely matched

by pieces worthy of them. I offer

these I've found—no claims except

their being mine—A glance may serve—do these

belong inside your life? My life,

Reader, encountered these trancelike

events that I've turned into things to tell.

If you like them, fine. If not, farewell.
do these

belong inside your life?

Not his best, I don't think, but I like the sentiment.
I had never heard of him and then I came across this one, and now it belongs in my life.

“Ask Me” by William Stafford

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

Albrighton, Shrewsbury.jpg
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