Tuesday, August 9, 2016

"i have tasted paradise": a poem plus a reflection on William Stafford

According to Paul Lacey, the poet William Stafford had great self-discipline and used to write every day. He started the day free-writing every day in CPS camp. “I owed the government my time after breakfast, but before dawn my time was my own.” He once was asked:“What if the poem you write doesn't meet your standards?” He replied, “I lower my standards.” What this implies is there is something important other than standards. The poetry was a way of gaining health. If you ask yourself, “Why isn't your poetry like Yeats',” it gets in the way of the Light. 

This free-written poem doesn't rise to the level of Yeats, but I hope it brings you closer to the Light.

i have tasted paradise
in the first light of day
in a walk to the kitchen
in a piece of homemade bread
in a glass of orange juice and the smell of fresh coffee
in the question of a child
in the smile of a friend who doesn't need any explanations
in the stillness of the trees just before sunset
in the stillness of this library where the books feel like old friends
and invite me to muse in companionable silence
as dusk settles in

but of what use is paradise
if it cannot be shared with You?

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