Thursday, June 19, 2014

Craft Poems

In addition to posting our own work, I would like to see examples of poems that speak to questions of craft – exemplars, if you will, like the swan poem or The Break that Billy shared with us.

Mary asked about social justice or political poems.  Here is one by William Stafford that definitely tells it slant. Not only is the ending soft, the whole poem is soft.

At the Bomb Testing Site

At noon in the desert a panting lizard   
waited for history, its elbows tense,   
watching the curve of a particular road   
as if something might happen.

It was looking at something farther off   
than people could see, an important scene   
acted in stone for little selves
at the flute end of consequences.

There was just a continent without much on it   
under a sky that never cared less.   
Ready for a change, the elbows waited.   
The hands gripped hard on the desert.


  1. Charles Simic on Stafford’s Bomb Testing Site:

    One should speak of Stafford's disappearing acts. As in "Traveling Through the Dark," he leaves us at the most crucial moments. At the end of his great poems we are always alone, their fateful acts and their consequences now our own to consider.

  2. Thank you, Tony. I love this! I'm going to use the first line as a prompt.

  3. This poem makes me think of the tortoise in Mary's poem!