Preface / by Kim Stafford -- A story that could be true -- Fifteen -- Vocation -- Ask me -- The way it is -- A message from the wanderer -- Traveling through the dark -- Mein Kampf -- You reading this, be ready -- Security -- Thinking for Berky -- Why I am happy -- A ritual to read to each other -- Serving with Gideon -- Easter morning -- Assurance -- Our story -- The little ways that encourage good fortune -- A gesture toward an unfound Renaissance -- Saint Matthew and all -- A dedication -- Learning -- Objector -- At the un-national monument along the Canadian border -- For the unknown enemy -- At the bomb testing site -- These mornings -- Distractions -- Watching the jet planes dive -- Poetry -- The star in the hills -- Peace walk -- Explaining the big one -- Entering history -- "Shall we have that singing -- " -- In the night desert -- The concealment : Ishi, the last wild Indian -- Bess -- American Gothic -- Report to Crazy Horse -- For my young friends who are afraid -- Listening -- Clash -- Our kind -- Aunt Mabel -- At the grave of my brother : bomber pilot -- A catechism -- Circle of breath -- A memorial : son Bret -- A family turn -- Ruby was her name -- With Kit, age 7, at the beach -- Passing remark -- Once in the 40s -- One home -- Prairie town -- Ceremony -- The farm on the Great Plains -- One evening -- In the Oregon country -- At the Klamath berry festival -- Looking for gold -- An Oregon message -- Earth dweller -- Spirit of place : great blue heron -- The fish counter at Bonneville -- Witness -- Bi-focal -- Across Kansas -- Malheur before dawn -- Starting with little things -- Mr. Conscience -- The well rising -- Climbing along the river -- Roll call -- Things I learned last week -- Ode to garlic -- Reading with little sister : a recollection -- Just thinking -- Any morning -- First grade -- Freedom -- When I met my muse -- You and art -- The animal that drank up sound -- Keeping a journal -- Indian caves in the dry country -- Burning a book -- Growing up -- A farewell, age ten -- Artist, come home -- An archival print -- Why I am a poet -- Run before dawn -- The last class -- Looking across the river -- Father and son -- Choosing a dog -- "Are you Mr. William Stafford?" -- Smoke.
"In our time there has been no poet who revived human hearts and spirits more convincingly than William Stafford." -Naomi Shihab NyeSome time when the river is ice ask memistakes I have made. Ask me whetherwhat I have done is my life. -from "Ask Me" In celebration of the poet's centennial, Ask Me collects one hundred of William Stafford's essential poems. As a conscientious objector during World War II, while assigned to Civilian Public Service camps Stafford began his daily writing practice, a lifelong early-morning ritual of witness. His poetry reveals the consequences of violence, the daily necessity of moral decisions, and the bounty of art. Selected and with a note by Kim Stafford, Ask Me presents the best from a profound and original American voice.