Thursday, April 24, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Once in the 40's" by William Stafford

"Once in the 40's" by William Stafford is the Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for April 24, 2014.  A link to the poem may be found here:  http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16507.

Kansas native William Stafford, Ph.D. (1914 - 1993) (pictured) was a teacher at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon.  He published his first book of poetry at the age of forty-eight (which gives me hope!), and followed that collection by sixty-four more between poetry and prose.  He served as the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1970, a position now known as Poet Laureate of the United States.  Reference to this and other biographical information may be found here:  http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/224.

"Once in the 40's" is a mystical, magical vignette about a moment of perfect contentment and the recognition of that moment for the treasure that it is.  Here we see the poet and his wife literally at a crossroads in the middle of nowhere on a long, dark road in Montana.  It's cold, but the stars are out and watching over them.  They are deeply in love.  They vow that no matter how rich and successful they become, that they will one day recapture the stillness and beauty of this moment, no matter the cost.  This poem of just eleven lines of free verse is a slice of time yet timeless.  I was in a reverie when I finished reading.

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