Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Poem by Ruth Crowley

Kim was contacted recently by Molly Fisk, a good friend of our treasured associate Fred Marchant, poet and editor of William Stafford's early poems (Another World Instead). With Fred's encouragement, Molly was sharing a poem by her student Ruth Crowley, written in response to the New York Times obituary heading for William Stafford.

Ruth Crowley's poem, a rich and evocative response to the Times's slightly limiting headline, is printed here for the first time with her permission. Our thanks to her, to Molly Fisk, and to Fred Marchant.

William Stafford, Noted Regionalist, Dies
New York Times, 1993

Each morning before dawn he rose
to write. He listened to the dark, and what took root
was only his. Light hides a lot, he said. He teased
large questions from his daily tasks and shied at answers.

Not intertextual or urbane, his work
feels like plain speech, flat as the Kansas of his birth,
but look again how careful and compact,
how closely shepherded each word.

He fought the war as a CO. The pain of that.
Half Crazy Horse, half Gandhi, he sought the wild in us,
and in the wild our path. Isolate, who else would ask:
is this poem good--for the universe?

His region is the space between:
hand and hand, sky and ground, mind and mind.