On the Stafford Centennial

You spent your life writing poems
shaped from the earth
with the quiet force of water,
reminding us of the danger
of putting anyone
on a pedestal
within or without.
Now that you’re gone
we dress you up
in hero’s cloth
but I recall the dry dust
of the internment camps,
the forgotten people
on the edge of town,
the hubris of war
and the darkness that waits
beyond the frail light
of our traveling circus.
I remember these things Bill
and won’t forge them
into a statue.





11 Responses to “On the Stafford Centennial”

  1. David Banner says:

    Yes! We shall make no idols to the living or the dead…..

  2. T Johansson says:

    Ho, Bother!
    I once had the privilege of knowing William Stafford’s son, Kim Stafford, through the annual “Fishtrap” writers gatherings in The Wallowas… another fine, translucent poet (and man) like his father. We are fortunate, you and I, to dance at the edge of such brilliance…
    WRITE ON!!

  3. thanks, Don. Bill and Kim were and still are very much part of my creative life. Kim is my teacher and a fine digital storyteller.

    I think honoring Bill statewide doesn’t turn him into a statue because the focus is so consistently on his poetry–urging people to listen, read, write, and carry the poetry into the classroom. I know that’s what I’m doing!

    Good dusty details in this poem of yours!

  4. Bill Dare says:

    Rememberance is the sweetest breath… thanks for yours, Brother.

  5. Lloyd Meeker says:

    It is important, he said, for awake people to be awake, and to be clear in my yes, no, and maybe. He clearly wasn’t afraid of hard work…

    Thanks, Don.

  6. Pichay says:

    William Stafford did not/does not (for his spirit reverberates regardless) give credence to idle worship, nor to idle living. I will pause for as long as it serves, to vibrate admiration for his gifts.

  7. keith fairmont says:

    What insight Don into this man’s soul. How great that there are people living his work into action. We stand on a bedrock of men and women like this.

  8. Jude says:

    An edge of paradox, seeming contradiction: your startlingly impacting words, that awaken monumental wisdom internally.
    Hard not to iconize or idealize, and still be guided by profound directives.

  9. Pat Fitzsimmons says:

    I didn’t know William Stafford, thanks for the introduction!
    However, I do know the spirit of Don Hynes, who doesn’t forget
    “The forgotten people at the edge of town”.

  10. Robin Bryant says:

    You learned well through him Don, and I and we learn well through your words. Our actions always provide the flow of the listening heart .. where new depths of understanding rise up and want to be lived.

  11. Tom Wilson says:

    Beautiful homage, Don.

    The migrating bird
    leaves no trace behind
    and does not need
    a guide.


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