Is This Feeling About the West Real?

IS THIS FEELING ABOUT THE WEST REAL?
William Stafford

All their lives out here some people know
they live in a hemisphere beyond what Columbus discovered.
These people look out and wonder: Is it magic? Is it
the oceans of air off the Pacific? You can’t
walk through it without wrapping a new
piece of time around you, a readiness for a meadowlark,
that brinkmanship a dawn can carry for lucky people
all through the day.

But if you don’t get it, this bonus, you can
go home full of denial, and live out your years.
Great waves can pass unnoticed outside your door;
stars can pound silently on the roof; your teakettle
and cozy life inside can deny everything outside—
whole mountain ranges, history, the holocaust,
sainthood, Crazy Horse.

Listen—something else hovers out here, not
color, not outlines or depth when air
relieves distance by hazing far mountains,
but some total feeling or other world
almost coming forward, like when a bell sounds
and then leaves a whole countryside waiting.

Approaching

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