Poetry Friday: Remembering William Stafford

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Thanks to Catherine at Reading to the Core for hosting Poetry Friday. On this day in 1914, William Stafford was born.  He would later become a prolific poet and writer, the US Poet Laureate in 1970 and the Oregon Poet Laureate in 1972.  He also taught at my alma mater, Lewis and Clark College.

Once in the 40’s is a poem From The Way It Is by William Stafford. Copyright © 1982, 1998 by the Estate of William Stafford.

In honor of him, I selected a poem, found a line, and wrote a Golden Shovel.
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“and no matter how far, to be so happy again.”

anticipation hangs like icicles and

the space between breaths no

longer matter

we wonder how

snowflakes drift so far

so fast attaching one by one to

winter’s bare branches. be 

still as the towhees make snow tracks so 

others find the seeds and dine happy

anticipation hangs like icicles again


©jone rush macculloch, draft 2020

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13 Responses to Poetry Friday: Remembering William Stafford

  1. Rebecca Herzog says:

    This is beautiful, Jone!

  2. I’ll need to look for William Stafford as well… thanks for this intro and poem. Really lovely…

  3. Michelle Kogan says:

    Moving poem Jone, these words stood out to me as birds are ever present on my mind:
    “be

    still as the towhees make snow tracks so

    others find the seeds and dine”

    Thanks also for the peek into your notebook, how creative and fun it is!

  4. cvarsalona says:

    Golden shovel poems are so interesting to write and read. I, like others, enjoyed your line, “anticipation hangs like icicles”.

  5. maryleehahn says:

    I love William Stafford’s poetry. I had the joy of hearing him speak at NCTE long ago. But I’m also wondering how I did not know you went to Lewis and Clark?!? My best friend from college left the University of Denver and finished her degree there!! Small world!

  6. Tabatha says:

    This is super, Jone! I really enjoy your imagery and metaphor here.

  7. Linda Mitchell says:

    Jone, your presentation and connection to the poem and the poet are beautiful and heartfelt. I love that you used the phrase, “spaces between.” That is what I have been reflecting on for Spiritual Thursday.

  8. Kay Mcgriff says:

    Your poem is gorgeous. I love “anticipation hangs like icicles” that begins and ends your poem. I will remember these lines when I look at icicles.

  9. lindabaie says:

    I recommend ‘Early Morning’, about my father, by Kim Stafford, Jone. It is beautiful, as is your poem from that wonderful line. I too love “anticipation hangs like icicles’!

  10. margaretsmn says:

    I love William Stafford and had the privilege of meeting and attending a workshop with his son, Kim Stafford. I love the line “anticipation hangs like icicles.” I think when we write golden shovel poems, the words lead us to a surprising place. Thanks for sharing your process.

  11. Thank you for sharing this. I would like to know more about William Stafford and read his work. “Anticipation hangs like icicles/ the space between breath no /longer matters. Something to think about.

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