William Stafford: The Un-National Monument

A few weeks ago I did a post on the many meanings of peace. This poem from the prolific William Stafford (1914 - 1993) provides a nice follow up to the idea that peace is not a pipe dream, but fundamental to us, if we choose to see it. Stafford, by the way, was a pacifist.

At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border

This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.

Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed—or were killed—on this ground
hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.

From The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems. Copyright © 1998 by William Stafford.


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