Monday, November 29, 2010

Allegiances, by William Stafford

Hello Poets,
As the nights lengthen, I turn to Bill Stafford's poems. They nourish with their common wisdom and everyday joy.
Bill famously wrote a poem every morning before sunrise. Allegiances is from his 1970 volume of the same name and I can imagine him this cold, dim morning sitting down in the dark before everyone wakes and writing these simple truths.
Best to you all,


It is time for all the heroes to go home
if they have any, time for all of us common ones
to locate ourselves by the real things
we live by.

Far to the north, or indeed in any direction,
strange mountains and creatures have always lurked—
elves, goblins, trolls, and spiders:—we
encounter them in dread and wonder,

But once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold,
found some limit beyond the waterfall,
a season changes, and we come back, changed
but safe, quiet, grateful.

Suppose an insane wind holds all the hills
while strange beliefs whine at the traveler’s ears,
we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
where we are, sturdy for common things.

by William Stafford, from Allegiances, 1970

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