William Stafford

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

William Stafford Poems

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

Comments about William Stafford

  • Dave Harvey (12/31/2018 12:34:00 PM)

    I think the first poem I ever read by him was titled Alpine.: It was a monologue by a small animal that lived above timberline on an unnamed mountain.

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  • Danny Smith (10/6/2018 12:03:00 AM)

    Hello Pamela Rogers


    Grass that was moving found all shades of brown,
    moved them along, flowed autumn away
    galloping southward where summer had gone.
    And that was the morning someone’s heart stopped
    and all became still. A girl said, “Forever? ”
    And the grass. “Yes. Forever.” While the sky —
    The sky — the sky — the sky.

  • Prosenjit N Sinha (1/29/2018 10:02:00 PM)

    Nobert Hirschhorn is preoccupied with the apparent, incapable of appreciating the spaces of the mind which
    may guide us to universal truths. You cannot blame him; for urban life with it's trivialities, ultimately constricts-
    builds walls of concrete & glass which keeps in facts but excludes the Truth.

  • Pamela Rogers (1/17/2015 5:50:00 PM)

    Can someone tell me the name of the poem by William Stafford that someone on Oregon Art Beat recently referred to as having helped her during a time of grief? It ended with the sky, the sky, the sky. The title was something about a little girl and a fence for something? I've not located it as yet. Thanks for any help.

  • Shelly Mccausland (1/24/2014 4:59:00 PM)

    Recently watched Oregon Art Beat where they featured William Stafford. Loved, loved his poetry.....it's how I think. It's inspiring me to get back into writing myself.

  • Norbert Hirschhorn (4/5/2005 2:33:00 AM)

    William Stafford's Traveling Through the Dark: I am surprised how the poem is always misread. The doe 'had stiffened already, almost cold', i.e, several hours along since death, which makes it impossible for a fawn to be still alive. The whole premise of the poem is thus false, and the dilemma inauthentically presented. Stafford was a man who understood nature and creatures, and so I have to wonder what was he thinking in creating this bit of fiction.

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


Sometimes in the open you look up
where birds go by, or just nothing,
and wait. A dim feeling comes
you were like this once, there was air,
and quiet; it was by a lake, or
maybe a river you were alert
as an otter and were suddenly born
like the evening star into wide

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