Monday, January 21, 2013

Once in the 40s - William Stafford

We were alone one night on a long
road in Montana.  This was in winter, a big
night, far to the stars.  We had hitched,
my wife and I, and left our ride at
a crossing to go on.  Tired and cold - but
brave - we trudged along.  This, we said,
was our life, watched over, allowed to go
where we wanted.  We said we'd come back some time
when we got rich.  We'd leave the others and find
a night like this, whatever we had to give,
and no matter how far, to be so happy again.

Time and time again, over hundreds of years, poets, among others, have reminded us, that money can never buy the happiness and freedom felt in those moments in which we live in the moment.  That starry night in Montana that Stafford recalls is captivating.  A sky full of stars, young, poor lovers, by themselves.  It's a wonderfully romantic image, and in life, it's the kind of moment where time stops, and you feel that presence of higher power.  "Watched over" as Stafford puts it.

Those moments are the stars in our own night sky.  Brilliant points of light by which we can mark and chart our lives, hoping to run into more of those moments.  Besides being somewhat sad by implying that we lose sight of those things with the acquisition of wealth and worldly possessions, this poem strikes me for being wonderfully captivating.  It grabs my imagination with the idea of a clear, cool night, with a lover by my side. What else do you need?

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