WILLIAM KLOEFKORN was named the Nebraska State Poet by proclamation of the Unicameral in 1982. He is a professor of English at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. His many collections of poetry include Alvin Turner as Farmer, Platte Valley Homestead, Uncertain the Final Run to Winter (WindflowerPress), Drinking the Tin Cup Dry, Covenants, and a collection of fiction, A Time to Sink Her Pretty Little Ship. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Georgia Review, Poet & Critic, and elsewhere. New collections of poetry include Among the Living (Sandhills Press) Welcome to Carlos (Spoon River Press), Loup RiverPsalter (Spoon River). and Fielding Imaginary Grounders (Spoon River). In addition to his many publications and honors, he won first-place in the 1978 Nebraska Hog-Calling Championship. He recently retired from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. His most recent is a collection of poems narrated through the voice of a sergeant on the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Bill has worked dilligently to promote all of the arts in Nebraska. He has participated in programs in schools, universities and prisons. His sense of humor and unique style of teaching make him a popular guest at poetry readings and festivals. Each summer bill is one of the Leaders of a program that allows teachers to follow the route of Lewis and Clark.
THE MUSIC OF SILENCE AND SOUND
--while hiking Crane Hollow near Logan, Ohio
In a cluster of blueness the Quaker Ladies
punctuate the hollow
with their delicate silence. To hear them is to
listen to the names
of their brothers and sisters-
hoverfly, hemlock, sandstone, Jesus Christ
lizard, its body on water
smooth as the silky ant, the azure butterfly,
Ladies, just now I kneel on a damp
fecundity of ages
to give you the sound of my grandmother's
name: Myrtle. And the sound of the name
of the other: Anna. 0 how your silence, Ladies, so
delicate, so blue,
underscores each syllable: Myr-tle. An-na. And
wild crab, yellow violet, squirrel corn,
adder's tongue, on its tip the sound of
song: There blooms the lily of the
valley, that bright and morning star.
Ladies, into a damp fe-cun-di-ty of ages
you have found your place, place
near where I kneel to learn the far-flung art of
kneeling. Neglecta major: I believe in the
necessity of empty spaces. Dragonfly and
damselfly: I believe in the chuckle in the throat of
the running stream. Myrtle and Anna: I believe in
the growth that must be happening above and
below and beyond the sounds of your blue and
delicate and thus far immortal names.