The Darkness Around Us Is Deep: Selected Poems of William Stafford by William Stafford

The Darkness Around Us Is Deep: Selected Poems of William Stafford

William Stafford
Price $17.29 with FREE shipping!
Buy this and get 18 Nile Miles
Ships from USA Expected delivery Sep 06 – Sep 12
User Rating
Rating saved


  • ISBN
    9780060969165 / 0060969164
  • Title The Darkness Around Us Is Deep: Selected Poems of William Stafford
  • Author William Stafford
  • Category Poetry
  • Format
  • Year 1993
  • Pages 160
  • Publisher
    Harper Perennial
  • Imprint HarperPerennial
  • Language English
  • Dimensions 137mm x 11mm x 204mm


Chapter One

Family and Children

With Kit, Age Seven, at the Beach

We would climb the highest dune,

from there to gaze and come down:

the ocean was performing;

we contributed our climb.

Waves leapfrogged and came

straight out of the storm.

What should our gaze mean?

Kit waited for me to decide.

Standing on such a hill,

what would you tell your child?

That was an absolute vista.

Those waves raced far, and cold.

"How far could you swim, Daddy,

in such a storm?“

”As far as was needed," I said,

and as I talked, I swam.

Passing Remark

In scenery I like flat country.

In life I don't like much to happen.

In personalities I like mild colorless people.

And in colors I prefer gray and brown.

My wife, a vivid girl from the mountains,

says, "Then why did you choose me?"

Mildly I lower my brown eyes—

there are so many things admirable people do not understand.

At Our House

Home late, one lamp turned low,

crumpled pillow on the couch,

wet dishes in the sink (late snack),

in every child's room the checked,

slow, sure breath—

Suddenly in this doorway where I stand

in this house I see this place again,

this time the night as quiet, the house

as well secured, all breath but mine borne

gently on the air—

And where I stand, no one.


“The broken part heals even stronger than the rest,”

they say. But that takes awhile.

And, “Hurry up,” the whole world says.

They tap their feet. And it still hurts on rainy

afternoons when the same absent sun

gives no sign it will ever come back.

"What difference in a hundred years?"

The barn where Agnes hanged her child

will fall by then, and the scrawled words

erase themselves on the floor where rats' feet

run. Boards curl up. Whole new trees

drink what the rivers bring. Things die.

“No good thing is easy.” They told us that,

while we dug our fingers into the stones

and looked beseechingly into their eyes.

They say the hurt is good for you. It makes

what comes later a gift all the more

precious in your bleeding hands.

For a Lost Child

What happens is, the kind of snow that sweeps

Wyoming comes down while I'm asleep. Dawn

finds our sleeping bag but you are gone.

Nowhere now, you call through every storm,

a voice that wanders without a home.

Across bridges that used to find a shore

you pass, and along shadows of trees that fell

before you were born. You are a memory

too strong to leave this world that slips away

even as its precious time goes on.

Publisher Description

This collection includes Stafford's writings about the Midwestern and Oregon landscapes, his many poems on Crazy Horse, Ishi and others that spring from his Native American heritage. There are also reflections on his longtime peace work and refusal of war services, and poems about his father and mother. William Stafford received the National Book Award. Robert Bly is the author of “Iron John”.

Author Biography

William Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1914. After the Second World War (to which he was a conscientious objector), he earned a Ph.D. at the newly created Iowa Writer's Workshop. A longtime lecturer, workshop leader, and advocate on behalf of younger writers and readers, Stafford taught English at Lewis and Clark College from 1956 to 1979. He was awarded the National Book Award in Poetry for “Traveling through the Dark,” The author of over fifty books, Stafford remains one of the most beloved and widely read poets in contemporary American letters. He died in Oregon, where he had f

Write a review

(never shown publicly)

The Darkness Around Us Is Deep: Selected Poems of William Stafford