Friday, August 30, 2013

August 30: William Stafford, "At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border," Labor Day

Tonight, I want to share a poem by one of my favorite poets, William Stafford.

Stafford doesn't get a whole lot of attention these days, but his work leaves me slack-jawed and breathless most of the time.  He's a quiet poet.  His lines sneak up on you like the first snow of autumn.  With silence and bracing beauty.

Saint Marty can't think of a better way to kick off Labor Day weekend than with this poem.

At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border

This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.

Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed--or were killed--on this ground
hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.

Bill Stafford

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