One Home

By William E. Stafford 1914–1993
Mine was a Midwest home—you can keep your world.   
Plain black hats rode the thoughts that made our code.   
We sang hymns in the house; the roof was near God.

The light bulb that hung in the pantry made a wan light,   
but we could read by it the names of preserves—
outside, the buffalo grass, and the wind in the night.

A wildcat sprang at Grandpa on the Fourth of July   
when he was cutting plum bushes for fuel,
before Indians pulled the West over the edge of the sky.

To anyone who looked at us we said, “My friend”;   
liking the cut of a thought, we could say “Hello.”
(But plain black hats rode the thoughts that made our code.)

The sun was over our town; it was like a blade.   
Kicking cottonwood leaves we ran toward storms.   
Wherever we looked the land would hold us up.

William Stafford, “One Home” from The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems. Copyright © 1998 by the Estate of William Stafford. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.

Source: The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 1998)

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Poet William E. Stafford 1914–1993

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects History & Politics, Home Life, Animals, Relationships, Nature, Social Commentaries