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“At Cove on the Crooked River” — Poetry Thursday

“A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.” -William Stafford

William Stafford was the first serious poet (sorry Shel Silverstein) that I ever enjoyed. I’ve always loved Western poets and authors, especially when the writing both shapes and is shaped by the landscape.

At Cove on the Crooked River

At Cove at our camp in the open canyon
it was the kind of place
where one might look out
some evening and see trouble
walking away.

And the river there meant something,
always coming from snow
and flashing around boulders
after shadow-fish lurking
below the mesa.

We stood with wet towels
over our heads for shade, looking
past the Indian picture rock
and the kind of trees that act out
whatever has happened to them.

Oh civilization, I want to carve you
like this, decisively outward
the way evening comes over that kind
of twist in the scenery.

When people cramp into their station
wagons and roll up the windows,
and drive away.

-William Stafford


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