Both of the following poems by William Stafford can be found online at the William Stafford Archives. This website is a wonderful resource – you can find electronic copies of the Stafford’s rough drafts for over 100 poems, along with audio from readings of several of his poems.
A few notes: the pictures that I’ve added to this post are from the neighborhood I used to live in. My husband and I rented an apartment in an old brick building in northwest Portland’s Nob Hill – it’s a lovely neighborhood if you want to visit Portland. Also, I had trouble getting to poems formatted properly on this blog. To see how they looked when originally published, please visit the William Stafford Archives.
Pods of summer crowd around the door;
I take them in the autumn of my hands.
the wind blew soft, and yet I shiver twice:
Once for thin walls, once for the sound of time.
Sometimes the light when evening fails
stains all haystacked country and hills,
runs the cornrows and clasps the barn
with that kind of color escaped from corn
that brings to autumn the winter word –
a level shaft that tells the world:
It is too late now for earlier ways;
now there are only some other ways,
and only one way to find them – fail.
In one stride night then takes the hill.