There was a new display at my local library: William Stafford, pacifist. I was intrigued. Would I actually find the time to read his works, I took a chance and checked out a couple of books. For a week they sat, collecting dust. I expressed wanting something rich and contemplative to read to my husband. His response, "You'll find something."
The next afternoon I made myself a cup of tea, pulled the chair close to the fire, and opened, Ask Me, 100 essential poems by William Stafford. It was perfect. I love the layers that poetry allows. As I was reading I was reflecting on the Bible and how much of the Bible is written in poetry. There was a similarity in the works of Stafford: a seeing, reflecting, yearning, and searching...the same that I find when I read the Psalms.
This is what I needed. Over the course of the week I gave myself rest and read this man's thoughts.
I even shared a couple with my 9-year-old son and he smiled as he read. We read together, "With Kit, Ag 7, at the Beach."
The stanza that we both liked the best was:
"How far could you swim, Daddy,
in such a storm?"
"As far as was needed," I said,
and as I talked, I swam.
I also loved "Passing Remark"
In scenery I like flat country.
In life I don't like much to happen.
In personalities I like mild colorless people.
And in colors I prefer gray and brown.
My wife, a vivid girl from the mountains,
says, "Then why did you choose me?"
Mildly I lowered my brown eyes-
there are so many things admirable people do not understand.
Other favorites of mine were/are:
"Once in the 40s"
"In the Oregon Country"
"A Farewell, Age Ten"
I'm always gravitating toward memoirs, biographies, and fictions, but why not a book of poetry from time to time. Its a different type of indulgence.