22 March 2012 An Explication of William Stafford’s “Ask Me”
The poem “Ask Me” is not as it may seem the first time you read it, you have to read through it a second maybe even a third time in order to take notes about the true meaning that Stafford is trying to get across. William Stafford gives us a paraphrase of his own poem “Ask Me”, giving the reader a look into what the poem means to him. By giving us the reader a more in depth explanation of his work it allows us to understand the meaning within the poem itself. So now let’s take a look at it and see what his thoughts were.
This poem is like no other of William Stafford’s. “Ask Me” is about as close as Stafford comes in his best poems to a formal sonnet of fourteen lines” (Anderson). The first part of the fourteen lines are asked by the (I) or the person who is speaking. The second half would usually answer the questions asked within the first half, but Stafford does not for (I) is the one asking the questions. At first the poem doesn’t seem to have any of the traditional flow and rhymes at the end of the lines, but he does show internal rhyming within the lines. Stafford is a poet who does not follow traditional formatting within is work.
The title of the poem is “Ask Me,” any reader may think “Ask Me what?” But the title speaks for itself as you read on. His poem at first is a little unclean on what is really being asked and to whom. The first line says “Some time when the river is ice ask me mistakes I have made” (Stafford). Stafford paraphrases this line as “When it’s quiet and cold and we have some chance to interchange without hurry, confront me if you like with a challenge about weather I think I
have made mistakes in my life” (Stafford). He follows with asking if the events he has following his life are what others would see. But what you do in your life is your decision, and others are
only around to either help you or...