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 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

 William E. Stafford

Biography

"If you have been wondering where the articulate, readable poems have gone in the last third of the 20th century, you might start with [William] Stafford," declares Victor Howes of the Christian Science Monitor. A pacifist and one of "the quiet of the land," as he often describes himself, Stafford is known for his unique method of composition, his soft-spoken voice, and his independence from social and literary expectations. As

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Poem Categorization

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

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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