This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.
Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed—or were killed—on this ground
hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.
William Stafford was a poet who spent time in prison for his pacifism during the second world war. He wrote a poem every day, even the day he died. When asked if a poem he had written didn't rise to his standards he said, "I just lower my standards." He was a mentor and friend to Naomi Shihab Nye. When I stood with Women in Black in downtown Seattle during the Gulf war, I held a photo of Stafford.