1.At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border
William Stafford
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.

Commentary: The person speaking is either denying whether something happened at the location he is at, or he is expressing his amazement of the fact that not one battle has happened within that area. In my opinion this poem is detailing an undisturbed setting that has stayed that way for a long time. The “celebration” of the location’s forgotten name could tell that the reason that the place hasn’t been disturbed is because it isn’t known to the human population.

2.“Do You Have Any Advice For Those of Us Just Starting Out?"

Ron Koertge

Give up sitting dutifully at your desk. Leave
your house or apartment. Go out into the world.
It's all right to carry a notebook but a cheap
one is best, with pages the color of weak tea
and on the front a kitten or a space ship.
Avoid any enclosed space where more than
three people are wearing turtlenecks. Beware
any snow-covered chalet with deer tracks
across the muffled tennis courts.
Not surprisingly, libraries are a good place to write.
And the perfect place in a library is near an aisle
where a child a year or two old is playing as his
mother browses the ranks of the dead.
Often he will pull books from the bottom shelf.
The title, the author's name, the brooding photo
on the flap mean nothing. Red book on black, gray
book on brown, he builds a tower. And the higher
it gets, the wider he grins.
You who asked for advice, listen: When the tower
falls, be like that child. Laugh so loud everybody
in the world frowns and says, "Shhhh."
Then start again.
Commentary: This poem tells me exactly what the title illustrates. This poem is about what a starting author should do to get the inspiration for their works. For example, sitting in a library where there are many interesting characters, like children, can influence an author on what kind of personality his characters should have.


Lisel Mueller

In Sleeping Beauty's castle
the clock strikes one hundred years
and the girl in the tower returns to the
So do the servants in the kitchen,
who don't even rub their eyes.
The cook's right hand, lifted
an exact century ago,
completes its downward arc
to the kitchen boy's left ear;
the boy's tensed vocal cords
finally let go
the trapped, enduring whimper,
and the fly, arrested mid-plunge
above the strawberry pie,
fulfills its abiding mission
and dives into the sweet, red glaze.
As a child I had a book
with a picture of that scene.
I was too young to notice
how fear persists, and how
the anger that causes fear persists,
that its trajectory can't be changed
or broken, only interrupted.
My attention was on the fly;
that this slight body
with its transparent wings
and lifespan of one human day
still craved its particular share
of sweetness, a century later.

Commentary: When I read this poem I thought, “what if the characters in a story were living but still within the book’s confines?” This poem details exactly what would happen if this were to happen. When you read a story and you have an active imagination, the characters come to life, but once you put the book down the characters are stilled and silenced.

4.Once upon a Time There Was a Man

Mac Hammond

Once upon a time there was, there was a man
Who lived inside me wearing this cold armour,
The kind of knight of whom the ladies could be proud
And send with favours through unlikely forests
To fight infidels and other knights and ordinary dragons.
Once upon a time he galloped over deep green moats
On bridges princes had let down in friendship
And sat at board the honoured guest of kings
Talking like a man who knew the world by heart.
In every list he fought, the trumpets on the parapets,
The drums, declared his mastery, the art of arms;
His horse, the household word of every villager,
Was silver-shod and, some said, winged.
Once upon a time, expecting no adventure
In the forest everybody knows, at midnight,
He saw a mountain rise beneath the moon.
An incredible beast? With an eye of fire?
He silently dismounted, drew his famous sword
And hid behind the heavy tress and shrubs to see
If what he thought he saw was real. He fled
And the giant eye of the moon pursues him still.
Commentary: The heading of this poem began by saying that it was part of a fairy tale. I can relate to this really easily by comparing it to the stories from the Mother Goose stories. The character is detailed in many ways to show what we as the readers would think of him. Once the ending approaches, the character is the total opposite. This may not be the same for all of MG’s stories, but it does have a similar pattern.

5.The Dead

Susan Mitchell

At night the dead come down to the river to drink.
They unburden themselves of their fears,
their worries for us. They take out the old photographs.
They pat the lines in our hands and tell our futures,
which are cracked and yellow.
Some dead find their way to our houses.
They go up to the attics.
They read the letters they sent us, insatiable
for signs of their love.
They tell each other stories.
They make so much noise they wake us
as they did when we were children and they stayed up
drinking all night in the kitchen.
Commentary: This poem I believe has more of a spiritual context attached to it. If a person believes in an afterlife then this poem would make more sense. Some people believe in haunting, and most haunting within literature or real life are in relation to the regrets or the feelings of the spirit before they died. The spirits in the poem are probably looking for letters and doing the things that a living person would do be cause it gives them a way out of their regret.