The Well Rising

By William E. Stafford 1914–1993
The well rising without sound,
the spring on a hillside,
the plowshare brimming through deep ground
everywhere in the field—

The sharp swallows in their swerve
flaring and hesitating
hunting for the final curve
coming closer and closer—

The swallow heart from wingbeat to wingbeat
counseling decision, decision:
thunderous examples. I place my feet
with care in such a world.

“The Well Rising” copyright 1960, 1998 the Estate of William Stafford. Reprinted from The Way It Is with the permission of Graywolf Press. www.graywolfpress.org

Source: The Darkness Round Us Is Deep (HarperPerennial, 1993)

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Poet William E. Stafford 1914–1993

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Nature, Spring, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 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 Nature, Spring, Landscapes & Pastorals

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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