William Stafford—You and Art

You and Art

Your exact errors make a music
that nobody hears.
Your straying feet find the great dance,
walking alone.
And you live on a world where stumbling
always leads home.

Year after year fits over your face—
when there was youth, your talent
was youth;
later, you find your way by touch
where moss redeems the stone;

and you discover where music begins
before it makes any sound,
far in the mountains where canyons go
still as the always-falling, ever-new flakes of snow.

—William Stafford

Also see William Stafford—A Course in Creative Writing

Listen to You and Art performed by Daniel Sperry from his CD: William Stafford: Cutting Loose ~ A Tribute To William Stafford.

I later included the last stanza of this Stafford poem in response to The Poetry Society’s tweet of the last half of Wallace Stevens’s poem, The Snow Man, which they liked. The imagery is similar, and the GIF they used of snow falling also fits perfectly with both poems.

My poem, Poetry—The Art of the Voice, communicates that silent music from nature to poet to audience, where it “begins before it makes any sound” as Stafford wrote at the end of You and Art.

And my poem, Telling the Story of Silence by Ken Chawkin, allows that silence to tell its own story, the “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is” as Stevens wrote in The Snow Man.

 

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7 Responses to “William Stafford—You and Art”

  1. Jayden Says:

    This poem is hot yo.

    Like

  2. Poetry helps us imagine what it’s like to be human. ~ Mark Strand (1934–2014) | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] go,” reminds me of the creative silence and the mature poet in this William Stafford poem, You and Art, “and you discover where music begins before it makes any sound, far in the mountains where […]

    Like

  3. William Stafford’s last poem now seemed prophetic—an unintended literary epitaph | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] William Stafford—The Way It Is, also recorded by Daniel Sperry, as well as William Stafford—You and Art. Enjoy other Stafford poems I love posted on The Uncarved […]

    Like

  4. Cellist and composer Daniel Sperry performs William Stafford’s poem, “The Way It Is” | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] poems posted on The Uncarved Blog, some of which have also been recorded by Daniel Sperry like, William Stafford—You and Art, and the last poem he wrote the morning of the day he died: “Are you Mr. William […]

    Like

  5. Failing eyesight or spiritual insight: a poet’s interpretation of a master artist’s vision. | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] a new way of painting. Another poet, William Stafford, wrote about youth and the mature artist in You and Art. The poem describes, in his own unique way, this spiritual transformation that takes place later in […]

    Like

  6. William Stafford—Ask Me | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] reading the poem, Ask Me. It’s one of my favorite Stafford poems along with The Way It Is, You and Art, When I Met My Muse, and many more posted on my […]

    Like

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