Continuing with my project of unearthing old gems from the Dodge’s back issues, today I present you with a beautiful piece of poetry penned by the late William Stafford, as it appeared in Artful Dodge 18/19 (or the year 1990, if that makes more sense to you). Stafford was Poet Laureate in 1970 and during his lifetime, published more than sixty-five volumes of poetry and prose. His son, Kim Stafford, is now a celebrated poet and essayist himself. So in honor of the famous literary pair, here’s to families, mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons, and to memories, good and bad. As always, accompanying image was selected from the internet by yours truly, Ananya Shrestha, editorial assistant. Happy reading!
People who walk by carry something so light
that no one can tell what it is. I know that burden,
lift it carefully from them and take it away
as they go on walking toward the sky.
Waiting here still I cherish whatever they find–
miles of lupine ghosting the hills,
an accurate bird whetting its call
beyond the hedgerows where they disappear.
“All I ask,” my mother said, “no matter the years
and the life we have, is that when you leave
you turn and wave.” That was long ago.
I like to remember — I turn, I wave.