Poetry Friday: Thinking for Berky

CYBILS News: Thanks to a wonderful year in poetry and those who submitted nominations, the poetry category has over forty books to considered. Woohoo!

On my way into school Wednesday morning, a colleague asked, “Do you know the poem from William Stafford that has the line, ‘justice will take us millions of intricate moves‘? I said no but I would research it and get back to him. I wish I knew all the Stafford poems however he was prolific.

Here it is:

Thinking For Berky by William Stafford

In the late night listening from bed

I have joined the ambulance or the patrol

screaming toward some drama, the kind of end

that Berky must have some day, if she isn’t dead.

The wildest of all, her father and mother cruel,

farming out there beyond the old stone quarry

where highschool lovers parked their lurching cars,

Berky learned to love in that dark school.

Early her face was turned away from home

toward any hardworking place; but still her soul,

with terrible things to do, was alive, looking out

for the rescue that—surely, some day—would have to come.

Windiest nights, Berky, I have thought for you,

and no matter how lucky I’ve been I’ve touched wood.

There are things not solved in our town though tomorrow came:

there are things time passing can never make come true.

We live in an occupied country, misunderstood;

justice will take us millions of intricate moves.

Sirens will hunt down Berky, you survivors in your beds

listening through the night, so far and good.

“Thinking for Berky” is from The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems, by William Stafford (Graywolf Press, 1998). Used by permission of the Estate of William Stafford.”

Haunting, isn’t it? Don’t you wonder About Berky?I contacted Kim Stafford to ask if I could use the poem and if he knew about Berky. He said this, “All I know about Berky is what my aunt Mar told me: “Berky was one of those nurses Bill used to run with.” Must be a story there!”

If you would like to see the original drafts of the poem, go HERE.

Poetry Friday is hosted at Live Your Poem.
Happy Reading.