Poem of the Week, by William Stafford

IMG_0695You know those maps where you fill in all the states you’ve been to? The only one missing from mine is Alaska (I don’t count the time that I landed at the Anchorage airport on my way to China). I’ve been to all the lower 48 states, most of them multiple times, because road trips are big in my life. The earth is a living being beneath the tires, rising and falling, sweeping west and shrinking east. Most of the time I’m solo, like last week, when I drove 2089 miles in three days. When I get tired, or when it gets dark, I tuck my old tiny car behind a semi for comfort. Truckers sometimes get a bad rap, and once in a while it’s justified, but for the most part they drive their trucks way more safely than most people drive their cars. 

Once, a few years ago, it was late at night in the Rockies, and I trailed behind a semi for over a hundred miles before I reached my exit. As I turned off, he tooted and waved, and I waved back. Strangers in the dark, acknowledging their connection. This beautiful poem reminds me of that night, and of all the road trips I have taken in my life.

 

Father’s Voice, by William Stafford

“No need to get home early;
the car can see in the dark.”
He wanted me to be rich
the only way we could,
easy with what we had.

And always that was his gift,
given for me ever since,
easy gift, a wind
that keeps on blowing for flowers
or birds wherever I look.

World, I am your slow guest,
one of the common things
that move in the sun and have
close, reliable friends
in the earth, in the air, in the rock.


For more information on William Stafford, please click here​.


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