William Stafford

Here you will find the Poem Accountability of poet William Stafford


Cold nights outside the taverns in Wyoming 
pickups and big semis lounge idling, letting their 
haunches twitch now and then in gusts of powder snow, 
their owners inside for hours, forgetting as well 
as they can the miles, the circling plains, the still town 
that connects to nothing but cold and space and a few 
stray ribbons of pavement, icy guides to nothing 
but bigger towns and other taverns that glitter and wait: 
Denver, Cheyenne. 

Hibernating in the library of the school on the hill 
a few pieces by Thomas Aquinas or Saint Teresa 
and the fragmentary explorations of people like Alfred 
North Whitehead crouch and wait amid research folders 
on energy and military recruitment posters glimpsed 
by the hard stars. The school bus by the door, a yellow 
mound, clangs open and shut as the wind finds a loose 
door and worries it all night, letting the hollow 
students count off and break up and blow away 
over the frozen ground.