27 April 2008

William Again


More William Stafford. A video poem! Probably not too many of those around. Honestly this video scares me. The grainy film; the pale lighting. It reminds me of being a child circa 1975 or so and watching a Saturday afternoon movie that was strange and frightening and entirely over my head. A movie that's not quite suitable for Saturday afternoon viewing--not exactly a horror film but far from a cartoon. In fact, it's about the perfect video to watch over and over again as I wait out the flu on this cold and very gray Santiago weekend.

video


The Farm on the Great Plains

A telephone line goes cold;
birds tread it wherever it goes.
A farm back of a great plain
tugs an end of the line.

I call that farm every year,
ringing it, listening, still;
no one is home at the farm,
the line gives only a hum.

Some year I will ring the line
on a night at last the right one,
and with an eye tapered for braille
from the phone on the wall

I will see the tenant who waits-
the last one left at the place;
through the dark my braille eye
will lovingly touch his face.

"Hello, is Mother at home?"
No one is home today.
"But Father-he should be there."
No one-no one is here.

"But you-are you the one...?"
Then the line will be gone
because both ends will be home:
no space, no birds, no farm.

My self will be the plain,
wise as winter is gray,
pure as cold posts go
pacing toward what I know.

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