William Stafford

(January 17, 1914 – August 28, 1993 / Kansas)

William Stafford Poems

1. The Well Rising 4/15/2010
2. Walking West 4/15/2010
3. Assurance 11/21/2014
4. Report To Crazy Horse 4/15/2010
5. In The Deep Channel 4/15/2010
6. After Arguing Against The Contention That Art Must Come From Discontent 4/15/2010
7. Hay-Cutters 4/15/2010
8. Bi-Focal 4/15/2010
9. An Oregon Message 4/15/2010
10. Humanities Lecture 4/15/2010
11. Accountability 4/15/2010
12. Monuments For A Friendly Girl At A Tenth Grade Party 4/15/2010
13. American Gothic 4/15/2010
14. Bess 4/15/2010
15. Returned To Say 1/13/2003
16. Passing Remark 4/15/2010
17. Remembering Mountain Men 1/13/2003
18. One Home 4/15/2010
19. With Kit, Age 7, At The Beach 1/20/2003
20. At The Un-National Monument Along The Canadian Border 4/15/2010
21. At The Bomb Testing Site 4/15/2010
22. Thinking For Berky 1/13/2003
23. The Light By The Barn 1/13/2003
24. This Life 1/13/2003
25. Across Kansas 1/13/2003
26. Graydigger's Home 1/13/2003
27. Atavism 1/13/2003
28. Waking At 3 A.M. 1/13/2003
29. Lit Instructor 1/13/2003
30. Allegiances 1/13/2003
31. Objector 1/13/2003
32. When I Met My Muse 1/13/2003
33. Security 1/13/2003
34. Just Thinking 1/13/2003
35. Notice What This Poem Is Not Doing 1/13/2003
36. For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid 1/13/2003
37. Ask Me 1/13/2003
38. Traveling Through The Dark 1/13/2003
39. A Ritual To Read To Each Other 1/13/2003
Best Poem of William Stafford

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs...

Read the full of A Ritual To Read To Each Other

Returned To Say

When I face north a lost Cree
on some new shore puts a moccasin down,
rock in the light and noon for seeing,
he in a hurry and I beside him

It will be a long trip; he will be a new chief;
we have drunk new water from an unnamed stream;
under little dark trees he is to find a path
we both must travel because we have met.

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