Gifts from William Stafford

three poems by William Stafford

It’s a balance, the taking and passing along,
the composting of where you’ve been and how people
and weather treated you. It’s a country where
you already are, bringing where you have been.
Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
turning the world, moving the air, calling,
every morning, “Here, take it, it’s yours.”

Unfortunate Location by Louis Jenkins | The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor

In the front yard there are three big white pines, older
than anything in the neighborhood except the stones.
Magnificent trees that toss their heads in the wind
like the spirited black horses of a troika. It’s hard to
know what to do, tall dark trees on the south side of
the house, an unfortunate location, blocking the
winter sun. Dark and damp. Moss grows on the roof,
the porch timbers rot and surely the roots have
reached the old bluestone foundation. At night, in
the wind, a tree could stumble and fall killing us in
our beds. The needles fall year after year making an
acid soil where no grass grows. We rake the fallen
debris, nothing to be done, we stand around with
sticks in our hands. Wonderful trees.


the poet David Whyte speaks of the ideas and dreams which led people to immigrate to America.  An America which sadly no longer exists.  Our task is to bring it back and make […]

Reading James Baldwin on a segregated Southern construction site.

by Walter Dellinger
“Baldwin reached a snap judgment that resonated with me. “The Southern landscape — the trees, the silence, the liquid heat,” he wrote, “seems destined for violence.” After all, “what passions cannot be unleashed on a dark road in a Southern night!” A nation that averts its eyes from the hell of subjugation — and what subjugation does both to the oppressor and to the oppressed — is one that will never truly understand race.

Reading Baldwin made me see white men, including myself, differently as well. What price were we paying for the inhumanity of the system of which we were a part? Baldwin led me to understand how much of the “race problem” was a white problem. As Chris Rock would later put it, our national problem is not about “race relations.” It is about the fact that “white people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy.”