Thursday, May 11, 2006

Speaking True Things

I love this poem by William Stafford and include it here for your reading delight. The idea of speaking our truths to each other has been very much on my mind lately. So this poem kept arriving at my mind's doorway.

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of
childhood storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region to all who talk:
though we could fool eachother, we should
consider -- lest the parade of our mutual life get
lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or breaking a line may discourage them back to
sleep; the signals we give - yes or no, or maybe - - -
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

--William Stafford


Blogger Maggie Rose said...

whoa. that is a strong poem.

for decades now I've mentally adapt to other's misunderstandings of me as "Oh. Just another Pachyderm moment." which is my shorthand for the story about all the blind men touching the different parts of an elephant and describing the same animal in such differing ways.

I call it The Pachyderm Theory of Life

it's a constant bugaboo of life, isn't it? this misunderstanding of the essence of others

happens in the best homes too

still Stafford certainly caught the reading/misreading people well in his poem.

thanks for posting it. I had never read it before.


2:41 PM  

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