“Notice What This Poem Is Not Doing” by William Stafford

The light along the hills in the morning
comes down slowly, naming the trees
white, then coasting the ground for stones to nominate.

Notice what this poem is not doing.

A house, a house, a barn, the old
quarry, where the river shrugs—
how much of this place is yours?

Notice what this poem is not doing.

Every person gone has taken a stone
to hold, and catch the sun. The carving
says, “Not here, but called away.”

Notice what this poem is not doing.

The sun, the earth, the sky, all wait.
The crowns and redbirds talk. The light
along the hills has come, has found you.

Notice what this poem has not done.

William Stafford

 

4 thoughts on ““Notice What This Poem Is Not Doing” by William Stafford

    1. I said the same exact thing after I first read it. I hoped by posting it, someone would tell me. Heh.

      It feels melancholy to me. I get the feeling death is somehow involved, though not specifically mentioned, “not here, but called away.” Maybe it’s how life goes on, with or without explanation.

      I could look up an analysis, but in this regard I kinda like the not knowing.

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    1. It’s chameleon-like to me and takes on whatever mood I may be in when reading. Like a mood ring.

      I’ve not found a good analysis for it either, so I guess we are in good company in our befuddlement. (Speaking of confounding the reader, huh?)

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