Singer Come From Afar
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  • WIDESPREAD APPEAL: A timely poetry collection that considers war and peace, pandemic struggles, Earth imperatives, and forging kinship




Publié par
Date de parution 06 avril 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781597098878
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Singer Come from Afar
Singer Come from Afar

Kim Stafford
Red Hen Press | Pasadena, CA
Singer Come from Afar
Copyright © 2021 by Kim Stafford
All Rights Reserved
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the prior written permission of both the publisher and the copyright owner.
Book layout by Daniela Connor
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Cover photograph by Kim Stafford
Names: Stafford, Kim Robert, author.
Title: Singer come from afar : poems / Kim Stafford.
Description: First edition. | Pasadena, CA : Red Hen Press, [2021]
Identifiers: LCCN 2020049841 (print) | LCCN 2020049842 (ebook) | ISBN 9781597098885 (trade paperback) | ISBN 9781597098878 (epub)
Subjects: LCGFT: Poetry.
Classification: LCC PS3569.T23 S56 2021 (print) | LCC PS3569.T23 (ebook) | DDC 811/.54—dc23
LC record available at
LC ebook record available at
The National Endowment for the Arts, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Ahmanson Foundation, the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, the Max Factor Family Foundation, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Foundation, the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Audrey & Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation, the Kinder Morgan Foundation, the Meta & George Rosenberg Foundation, the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation, the Adams Family Foundation, the Riordan Foundation, Amazon Literary Partnership, the Sam Francis Foundation, and the Mara W. Breech Foundation partially support Red Hen Press.

First Edition
Published by Red Hen Press
Thanks to the editors of the following magazines where some of these poems first appeared: Adventures Northwest, Open Spaces, Orion, Pilgrimage, Poetry, Salamander, Sojourners, Terrain, Texas Monthly, Windfall, and World Literature Today.
Some of these poems first appeared in a series of chapbooks from Little Infinities Press: Circumference : Poems of Consolation, December’s Children : A Month of Daily Writing, Dr. Fauci’s Smile : Pandemic Poems, Earth Verse : Poems for the Earth, In Praise of Disarray : Poems of Love & Affection, Meditations & Poems for Writers, Peace Warrior : Poems in English & Spanish, Reunion of the Rare : Poems of the Oregon Territory, The Flavor of Unity : Post-Election Poems.
“Advice from a Raindrop” first appeared in A Generous Nature : Lives Transformed by Oregon , by Marcy Houle (Oregon State University Press, 2019).
“Blue Brick from the Midwest” first appeared in Oregon Quarterly , and later (as did “How I Came to Be”) in the chapbook Prairie Prescription , by Kim Stafford (Limberlost Press, 2011).
“ Dastgah ” was published in World Literature Today , and included as part of an audio program performed by Michael Meade.
“Earth Totem” first appeared in For the Love of Orcas , ed. Andrew Shattuck and Jill McCabe Johnson (Trail to Table, 2019).
“Nuptial Flight” first appeared in If Bees Are Few : A Hive of Bee Poems , ed. Jim Lenfestey (University of Minnesota Press, 2016).
“Pandemic Coffee Restoration Ritual” was posted in the elevators at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon.
“Shelter in Place” was printed in Calligraphic Coronavirus Chronicles , a collection of poems as a benefit for the Oregon Food Bank by calligrapher Carol DuBosch, 2020.
“Two Arab Men” first appeared in Healing the Divide : Poems of Kindness and Connection , ed. James Crews (Green Rivers Press, 2019).
And several of the pandemic poems have appeared in the Portland Oregonian , have been read on the radio, reprinted in nonprofit newsletters, and distributed informally via neighborhood poetry posts.
1. In Spite of War
White Flag Patriots
For the Customs Agent Who Seized Claudia’s Jar of Honey from El Salvador
Nest Filled
Dear Mr. President
The Flavor of Unity
Old Glory’s New Red, Black, and Blue
Breast Milk, Ash, and the Needle
Do Not Follow Me
Presidential Alert
New House Rules
Practicing the Complex Yes
Repeat Offenders
First Lady
Equinox: Greta at Katowice
Two Arab Men
Learning to Be
All My Relations
2. Pandemic Poems
In Quarantine
Spring Fever in Lockdown
Pandemic Press Conference
For a Daughter in Quarantine
Oregon Dawn in Spite of the News
Bird in Hand
Do You Miss It?
Will We Go Back, after the Vaccine?
Inmate Calls Home
Pandemic Coffee Restoration Ritual
Dr. Fauci’s Smile
Shelter in Place
3. Revising Genesis
I Am the Seed
Advice from a Raindrop
Earth Totem
Puddle Jumper
Foolish Young Flowering Plum
Wild Birds Teach Us
Revising Genesis
Lessons from a Tree
Now Every Weed Is Precious
At the Meadow Called a Scab with Kendrick
For the Toad by the Kitchen Step at Haystack, 4 a.m.
Nuptial Flight
At the Farm
Beautiful Redundancy
Psalmon Berries
Midden at the Estuary
Wonder’s Wisdom
Do You Need Anything from the Mountain?
4. The Cup No One Can See
Our Singer Come from Afar
Two Rivers
Poetry in Prison
Lost & Found People
Connect the Dots
Wren’s Nest in a Shed near Aurora
Midrash on a Sacred Encounter
Poetry Class at the Women’s Prison
At the Bird Refuge on MLK Day
Seeking Abe at Cline Falls
A Blessing for Teachers: My People, My Heroes, My Friends
Poetry Doctor
My Wife Wakes Me at 3 a.m. to Tell Me She Is Overwhelmed
Letters to Strangers
Words You Learn to Serve the American Dream
Sunset North from Gold Beach
The Candle Burning in the Photograph on Pilar’s Office Door
Song after Ishiguro
For the Woman Picking Litter from the Beach
5. And All My Love
The Fact of Forgiveness
Dew & Honey
Chores of Inspiration
What We Did Before Radio
Quiet Day
My Father’s Hands Said No
Aunt Mar Changes How We See
How I Came to Be
Blue Brick from the Midwest
Emily’s Barefoot Rank
Atavistic Memory
My Brother Visits, 1988
Curse of the Charmed Life
Stories from Dr. Zeus
Old Dog
A Note Stuffed through Our Car’s Shattered Window, Passenger Side, at Stockton and Vallejo
Before the MRI
What For?
Outside My Window
Easy Pickings
In Spite of War
White Flag Patriots
The children went first
because they had the most to lose—
no color, no emblem on their flags,
no shouting, surrendering instead
as they shuffled toward the White House,
some crying, some stern,
a few humming lullabies
their mothers had taught them.
In the Rose Garden, where men
babbled into microphones,
the children lay down in the grass
to watch clouds drift west
until speeches trailed off
and only the wind was heard.
Then white flags flashed
as the children rose and sang together,
You have overcome, but we are not afraid.
For the Customs Agent Who Seized Claudia’s Jar of Honey from El Salvador
for Claudia Castro Luna
Para probar , she said. Taste it. Let it
sizzle on your tongue. Take it home
smuggled in your dark pocket,
and with a spoon drip to the tongues
of your children slow sips of joy
so they may know how sweet
my country once was in spite
of war and sorrow. Tell them
about the ravine of flowers
the soldiers missed but the bees
swarmed, humming and humming,
zumbando y zumbando.
Remind them how a mother
could sit by the road with
her daughter in her arms
and a few jars of true gold,
how my coins in her brown
hand meant enough this day,
even though her man was gone,
even though your law would take
this elixir from me, even though
there will always be war, but always
flowers, bees, mothers, and your children.
If you have no children, if you do not wish
to think of war, or my country, or the woman
by the road, still, I beg you, taste this honey,
let the sticky song of a thousand bees
give your body the oldest, deepest pleasure.
Do not lose your chance to know
how sweet my country once was
in spite of war and sorrow,
a pesar de la guerra y el dolor.
Nest Filled
Use your whirling wings to find the right tree.
Use your pert eye to choose the level limb.
Use your nimble feet to cherish the hospitable fork.
Use your fearless beak to gather twigs, leaves,
grass and thistledown to weave your basket-house
open to the wuthering sky.
Use your body to be the tent over tender pebbles,
lopsided moons. Then wait—warm, alert, still
through wind and rain, hawk-shadow, owl night.
Use your life to make life, spending all you have
on what comes after. And if you are human, a true
citizen, fully awake, then learn from the sparrow
how to build a house, a village, a nation. Use instinct
to find the right place. Use thought to know the right
time. Use wisdom to design the right action.
In the era of stormy weather, build your
sturdy nest, and fill it with the future.
Dear Mr. President
In shee

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