Monday, July 28, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Walking West" by William E. Stafford, Poet of the Month

The Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for July 28, 2014 is "Walking West" by William E. Stafford, Poet of the Month.  In addition to the reviews this month, Mr. Stafford's work has been examined previously here:  http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/04/poem-of-day-once-in-40s-by-william.html, where a brief biography and references may be found.  The text of "Walking West" may be found here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171505.

"Walking West" is a contemporary ballad, having the quatrains and tetrameter of the traditional form.  In place of the traditional rhyme scheme, the poem is filled with rich alliteration and consonance.  The conceit of walking in the footsteps of God is powerful, as are the beautiful metaphor of the wind as a river, and the image and delightful consonance of the "hawk on a stick."

Poem of the Day: "One Home" by William E. Stafford, Poet of the Month

The Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for July 27, 2014 is "One Home" by William E. Stafford, Poet of the Month.  In addition to the reviews this month, Mr. Stafford's work has been examined previously here:  http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/04/poem-of-day-once-in-40s-by-william.html, where a brief biography and references may be found.  The text of "One Home," along with an audio recording of it by the poet, may be found here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171502.

"One Home" is presented in five tercets; the odd lines of the second and third end with rhymes; every line of the first tercet ends in consonance; the fourth tercet contains a refrain, with the odd lines ending in consonance; and the final tercet uses neither end rhyme nor end consonance.

The final stanza is the most interesting as it is the least straightforward.  In the first line, the sun is compared to a blade.  A blade can be seen as a tool or a weapon.  So, the simile may mean that the right amount of sun is helpful, but too much or not enough causes harm.  "Blade" also evokes an image of grass and may reference the "buffalo grass" of the second stanza.  The second line evokes a sense of freedom, excitement, and danger--all cliché characteristics of the Midwest.  The final line of the poem evokes a sense of the land's reliability and support--a sense of "one home."