Friday, August 31, 2007

PT: Farewell

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 each other, 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 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

(William Stafford (1914-1993) taught English at Lewis & Clark for three decades, and was, in 1975, appointed Oregon Poet Laureate.)

Not mine, but a better one, to leave with you all...first posted on February 26, 2006.



chiefbiscuit said...

The end of an era, rather than the end of an elephant :) ... but a big mover all the same. Farewell indeed PT - but I'm sure what replaces it will be all the sweeter for the foundations PT laid.

January said...

What a great poem to end our run with PT. I do love William Stafford's work.

Hope you are well.

Pam said...

This is a lovely, wonderful poem. Love your "tail end."