The Darkness Around Us Is Deep: Selected Poems of William Stafford

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Chapter One Family and ChildrenWith Kit, Age Seven, at the Beach We would climb the highest dune, from there to gaze and come down: the ocean was performing; we contributed our climb. Waves leapfrogged and came straight out of the storm. What should our gaze mean? Kit waited for me to decide. Standing on such a hill, what would you tell your child? That was an absolute vista. Those waves raced far, and cold. "How far could you swim, Daddy, in such a storm?" "As far as was needed," I said, and as I talked, I swam. Passing Remark In scenery I like flat country. In life I don't like much to happen. In personalities I like mild colorless people. And in colors I prefer gray and brown. My wife, a vivid girl from the mountains, says, "Then why did you choose me?" Mildly I lower my brown eyes-- there are so many things admirable people do not understand. At Our House Home late, one lamp turned low, crumpled pillow on the couch, wet dishes in the sink (late snack), in every child's room the checked, slow, sure breath-- Suddenly in this doorway where I stand in this house I see this place again, this time the night as quiet, the house as well secured, all breath but mine borne gently on the air-- And where I stand, no one. Consolations "The broken part heals even stronger than the rest," they say. But that takes awhile. And, "Hurry up," the whole world says. They tap their feet. And it still hurts on rainy afternoons when the same absent sun gives no sign it will ever come back. "What difference in a hundred years?" The barn where Agnes hanged her childwill fall by then, and the scrawled words erase themselves on the floor where rats' feet run. Boards curl up. Whole new trees drink what the rivers bring. Things die. "No good thing is easy." They told us that

Table of Contents

Introduction: William Stafford and the Golden Thread vii
Family and Children
Traveling Through the Dark
Speaking the Native American Part In Him
Mother's Voice and Father's Voice
Rescuing Some Years In Kansas
The Refusal to Serve War
Index Of Poems 137

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