Friday, September 25, 2009

After Arguing Against the Contention That Art Must Come From Discontent

After Arguing against the Contention That Art Must Come from Discontent

Whispering to each handhold,
“I'll be back,”
I go up the cliff in the dark.
One place I loosen a rock
and listen a long time
till it hits, faint in the gulf,
but the rush of the torrent
almost drowns it out, and the wind—
I almost forgot the wind:
it tears at your side
or it waits and then buffets;
you sag outward. . . .

I remember they said it would be hard.
I scramble by luck into
a little pocket out of the wind
and begin to beat on the stones
with my scratched numb hands,
rocking back and forth
in silent laughter there in the dark—
“Made it again!”
Oh how I love this climb!
—the whispering to stones, the drag,
the weight
as your muscles crack and ease on,
working right. They are back there,
waiting to be driven forth.
I pound on the earth,
riding the earth past the stars:
“Made it again! Made it again!”

William Stafford

Posted over on Poetry Foundation

William Stafford, “After Arguing Against the Contention That Art Must Come from Discontent” from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems.

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