It is a secret still, but already your tree
is chosen. It has entered a forest for
and hides deep in a valley by a
No one else finds it; the sun passes
not noticing. But even while you are
you happen to think of that
no matter where
go, talking about other things.
The author tries
to be casual, to turn
from the secret. But you
what is out
You set forth
original dedication to Who Are You Really,
reprinted in Even in Quiet
When William Stafford
died at age 79 in 1993, says his writer son, Kim, it was a shock to
many of his readers. He seemed as enduring as the Northwestern
landscape he celebrated. In a new book of his later poems, we see
again how his deceptively plain lines interweave strong feelings
with natural settings. In "Spirit of Place: Great Blue Heron,"
Stafford, a pacifist and conscientious objector during World War
II, describes the birds this way:
"Out of their loneliness for
two reeds, or maybe two shadows, lurch
forward and become suddenly a life
lifted from dawn or the rain. It is
the wilderness come back again, a lagoon
with our city reflected in its eye. ..."
This collection includes what
was probably his final work, the Methow River poems, seven of which
can be seen on roadside posts through the Cascade Mountains of
Washington. The project was an inspired collaboration between
Forest Service staffers and Stafford, who was asked to contribute
"poetry road signs' (HCN, 11/28/94). You can read them again and
again and feel refreshed.
Even in Quiet Places,
Poems by William Stafford, afterword by Kim Stafford, is published
by Confluence Press, Lewis-Clark State College, 500 8th Ave.,
Lewiston, ID 83501-2698. 120 pages softcover, $11.