Look: no one ever promised for sure

that we would sing. We have decided

to moan. In a strange dance that

we don’t understand till we do it, we

have to carry on.


 Just as in sleep you have to dream

the exact dream to round out your life,

so we have to live that dream into stories

and hold them close at you, close at the

edge we share, to be right.


We find it an awful thing to meet people,

serious or not, who have turned into vacant

effective people, so far lost that they

won’t believe their own feelings

enough to follow them out.


The authentic is a line from one thing

along to the next; it interests us.

strangely, it relates to what works,

but is not quite the same. It never

swerves for revenge,


Or profit, or fame: it holds

together something more than the world,

this line. And we are your wavery

efforts at following it. Are you coming?

Good: now it is time.

-William Stafford


Poem: “An Introduction To Some Poems” by William Stafford, from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems © Graywolf Press, 1998. 

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