My 7th grade son came home from school the other day and asked me if I’d ever heard of William Stafford. Usually such questions are about professional basketball players, not poets, so I almost fell out of my chair. This discussed this poem in class the other day and he wanted to know what I thought of it.
I almost, just almost, wet my pants.
I showed him how I collect poems I love in a word document and refer to them for my blog and other reasons. He asked if I’d ever posted this one before. I hadn’t, I told him, but will next Friday, just for you.
What’s in My Journal
~ William Stafford
Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
Thing, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
anyway. Deliberate obfuscation, the kind
that takes genius. Chasms in character.
Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
a new grave. Pages you know exist
but you can’t find them. Someone’s terribly
inevitable life story, maybe mine.