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William Stafford’s Poetic Calibration of Perspective – The Marginalian


Yes: William Stafford’s Poetic Calibration of Perspective

When a latest bout of sickness despatched me sulking with indignant disappointment on the destroy of lengthy laid plans, I needed to remind myself that we have been by no means promised any of this; that it’s hubris and self-importance and nearly touching delusion to count on an detached cosmos to bend to our will, our needs, and our plans; that assembly the universe by itself phrases is the tip of struggling.

By way of the haze of what Virginia Woolf known as the “wastes and deserts of the soul” uncovered by being unwell, I remembered a stunning calibration of perspective by the poet and peace activist William Stafford (January 17, 1914–August 28, 1993), discovered within the posthumous assortment The Means It Is: New and Chosen Poems (public library).

YES
by William Stafford

It may occur any time, twister,
earthquake, Armageddon. It may occur.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It may, you understand. That’s why we wake
and look out — no ensures
on this life.

However some bonuses, like morning,
like proper now, like midday,
like night.

Stafford had a late begin as a poet — his first main assortment was printed when he was 48. After which the poems that had been writing themselves in him all his life got here pouring out, spare and beautiful. Inside eight years, he was elected Poet Laureate of the United Staes.

The morning earlier than he died within the last 12 months of his seventies, he drafted a poem containing these traces:

You’ll be able to’t inform when unusual issues with which means
will occur. I’m [still] right here writing it down
simply the best way it was. “You don’t should
show something,” my mom stated. “Simply be prepared
for what God sends.” I listened and put my hand
out within the solar once more. It was all simple.

Complement with Viktor Frankl, writing shortly after his launch from the focus camps, on saying “sure” to life finally and Henry James on the way to cease ready and begin dwelling, then revisit Barbara Ras’s kindred poem “You Can’t Have It All” and Hannah Emerson’s cosmic howl of sure sure sure.

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