Okay, I’m editing this entry to add a couple of comments I didn’t have time for this morning. I have no idea what the answer is to the question asked in the title of this poem. The only thing I came up with was that it didn’t rhyme which is what some people think makes something a poem. Other people are responding with their own thoughts but I must confess that I feel better knowing I’m not the only one a wee bit perplexed by it.


The light along the hills in the morning
comes down slowly, naming the trees
white, then coasting the ground for stones to nominate.

Notice what this poem is not doing.

A house, a house, a barn, the old
quarry, where the river shrugs–
how much of this place is yours?

Notice what this poem is not doing.

Every person gone has taken a stone
to hold, and catch the sun. The carving
says, “Not here, but called away.”

Notice what this poem is not doing.

The sun, the earth, the sky, all wait.
The crowns and redbirds talk. The light
along the hills has come, has found you.

Notice what this poem has not done.

— William Stafford