Lovely Love Poems: Lawrence

I can still remember the first time I saw the University of Kansas. I was in the white mini-van with my family, on our way to Texas to look at colleges, “just swinging by” KU and Lawrence to check things out. It was supposed to be a quick trip. But eventually, I decided to stay forever. There are times even now when I see, from miles out, those red roofs glinting in the sun. There are times when I think about how much different my life would be if I’d never come here. There are times when I still get a little teary-eyed over everything this place means to be. And I know I’m not alone. Proof? This poem, which I found in Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems, American Places.

Home Town

Peace on my little town, a speck in the safe,
comforting, impersonal immensity of Kansas.
Benevolence like a gentle haze on its courthouse
(the model of Greek pillars to me)
on its quiet little bombshell of a library,
on its continuous, hidden, efficient sewer system.

Sharp, amazed, steadfast regard on its more upright citizenry,
my nosy, incredible, delicious neighbors.

Haunting invasion of a train whistle to my friends,
moon-gliding, regular breaths of the old memories to them–
the old whispers, old attempts, old beauties, ever new.

Peace on my little town, haze-blessed, sun-friended,
dreaming sleepy days under the world-champion sky.

Lawrence, Kansas
c. Fall 1941

–William Stafford


About LE

PR professional by day, writer by night. Remembering life isn't an episode of "Saved By the Bell." Getting culture, not babies.

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