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Poem of the Month for December 2019

November 25, 2019

Why I Am Happy

Now has come, an easy time. I let it
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens
gracefully.

I hear all this, every summer. I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent spin.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.

And I know where it is.

— William Stafford

What is happiness? Is it one thing to you and another to me? To the poet here it is the natural beauty of the world, of life. He reminds us that life has tears as well as laughter, and that the difference can be quite random. He hangs on to the beauty of the lake, the joy of the being alive. "And I know where it is."

William Stafford, 1914 - 1993, was a pacifist, and a registered conscientious objector during World War Two, he performed alternative service from 1942 to 1946 in the Civilian Public Service camps. He went to a distinguished career teaching at Lewis & Clark College. Stafford had the habit of writing a new poem everyday, a habit that I admire so much I adopted it myself long ago. His ability to capture the ingredients of life in his poems is second to none.

James Lee Jobe
Poet Laureate, City of Davis