William Stafford

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


Poem by William Stafford

In line at lunch I cross my fork and spoon
to ward off complicity--the ordered life
our leaders have offered us. Thin as a knife,
our chance to live depends on such a sign
while others talk and The Pentagon from the moon
is bouncing exact commands: "Forget your faith;
be ready for whatever it takes to win: we face
annihilation unless all citizens get in line."

I bow and cross my fork and spoon: somewhere
other citizens more fearfully bow
in a place terrorized by their kind of oppressive state.
Our signs both mean, "You hostages over there
will never be slaughtered by my act." Our vows
cross: never to kill and call it fate.

Comments about Objector by William Stafford

  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (1/31/2015 6:39:00 PM)

    This is a very effective anti-war, anti-warmonger-leaders poem. I agree with the subtext of pacifism. I think Stafford is courageous and outspoken.(Report)Reply

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  • john tiong chunghoojohn tiong chunghoo (3/25/2006 12:33:00 AM)

    lovely poem.

    to hell
    a sign
    on the wall of austwitz(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: faith, fate, moon, life

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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