Archive for the ‘William Stafford’ Category



Before dawn, across the whole road
as I pass I feel spiderwebs.

Within people’s voices, under their words or
woven into the pauses, I hear a hidden sound.

One thin green light flashes over a smooth sea
just as the sun goes down.

What roses lie on the altar of evening
I inhale carefully, to keep more of.

Tasting all these and letting them have
their ways to waken me, I shiver and resolve:

In my life, I will more than live.

– William Stafford –


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When you wake to the dream of now
from night and its other dream,
you carry day out of the dark
like a flame.
When spring comes north and flowers
unfold from earth and its even sleep,
you lift summer on with your breath
lest it be lost ever so deep.
Your life you live by the light you find
and follow it on as well as you can,
carrying through darkness wherever you go
your one little fire that will start again.

– William Stafford –

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Woke up to fog. Beautiful, soft, mysterious…A way of being…



The light along the hills in the morning
comes down slowly, naming the trees
white, then coasting the ground for stones to nominate.

Notice what this poem is not doing.

A house, a house, a barn, the old
quarry, where the river shrugs–
how much of this place is yours?

Notice what this poem is not doing.

Every person gone has taken a stone
to hold, and catch the sun. The carving
says, “Not here, but called away.”

Notice what this poem is not doing.

The sun, the earth, the sky, all wait.
The crowns and redbirds talk. The light
along the hills has come, has found you.

Notice what this poem has not done.


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A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had started to say them. This is, he does not draw on a reservoir; instead, he engages in an activity that brings to him a whole succession of unforeseen stories, poems, essays, plays, laws, philosophies, religions, or–but wait!

Back in school, from the first when I began to try to write things, I felt this richness. One thing would lead to another; the world would give and give. Now, after twenty years or so of trying, I live by that certain richness, an idea hard to pin, difficult to say, and perhaps offensive to some. For there are
strange implications in it.

One implication is the importance of just plain receptivity. When I write, I like to have an interval before me when I am not likely to be interrupted. For me, this means usually the early morning, before others are awake. I get pen and paper, take a glance out of the window (often it is dark out there), and wait. It is like fishing. But I do not wait very long, for there is always a nibble–and this is where receptivity comes in. To get started I will accept anything that occurs to me. Something always occurs, of course, to any of us. We can’t keep from thinking. Maybe I have to settle for an immediate impression: it’s cold, or hot, or dark, or bright, or in between! Or–well, the possibilities are endless. If I put down something, that thing will help the next thing to come, and I’m off. If I let the process go on, things will occur to me that were not at all in my mind when I started. There things, odd or trivial as they may be, are somehow connected. And if I let them string out, surprising things will happen.


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Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.


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Here are two of my favorite Dads…My husband and our middle son, Brett with his sons Blake, Elijah and Ethan…

And here’s Pop Pop with Blake and Ethan celebrating Father’s Day…




We would climb the highest dune,
from there to gaze and come down:
the ocean was performing;
we contributed our climb.

Waves leapfrogged and came
straight out of the storm.
What should our gaze mean?
Kit waited for me to decide.

Standing on such a hill,
what would you tell your child?
That was an absolute vista.
Those waves raced far, and cold.

“How far could you swim, Daddy,
in such a storm?”
“As far as was needed,” I said,
and as I talked, I swam.


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Lately, I’ve been pondering the prevailing question we ask one another when getting acquainted…”And, what do you do?”

I’ve never found a satisfying answer for this question…possibly because I’ve been self-employed for almost my entire adult life–I did have about 18 months where I received W2 income against commission sales; still essentially I was self-employed. At that time, I didn’t want to say, “I’m about to sell you some Mutual Funds, or an Annuity,” so I would introduce myself as a “consultant” for New York Advisory Group.

Early on, I could say, “I teach at a pre-school for autistic and emotionally disturbed (now a politically incorrect term–it’s what we said then) children.” A year later, I could say, “I teach at the Corrales Community School–a ‘free’ school, patterned after Summerhill.” A year or so later, I could clearly say, “I’m a craftsperson–I make handmade pottery and sell it at galleries and crafts fairs.” That period lasted about thirteen years.

In recent years, it’s gotten much more dicey. WHAT is it that I do? There was a time when I liked to say, “As little as possible…” Which was absolutely untrue.

Then there was the idea of being a “PhB”…a practicing human being. There was also the time when I realized that other cultures are much less interested in what people do; they ask and want to know, “Who are your people?” or, “Where is your village?

Yesterday, the tenants in our office building had to make a decision about a new sign. With zoning regulations and space allocation based on square footage and a border allowance, our sign is 37″ by 10.” Well, my name, my husband’s name and our phone number just about fills the space. How do we find one word, that in bold print sums up what we do? There are many “catch-all” terms like consultant, educator, coach. We’ve tried a few of them in our branding tag lines…“Educating Families for Healthy Futures” and “Coaching for Skillful Living” and “Facilitating Appreciative Relationships.”

Once, years ago, I did a discovery exercise that had something to do with naming your “essence.” I’ve forgotten the details–it involved index cards with nouns and verbs. I do remember what I came up with–“Illuminating Revealer.” What do I do? “I’m an Illuminating Revealer.”

Titles are so handy, yet tell us nothing–“I’m the CEO, CFO, COO, President of, Director of…” When my children were younger, I was identified as “Sara’s mom” or “Grace’s mom” and knew greeted other parents the same way–“Oh, you must be Donna’s mom.”

In the end, what do I do? I’m interested in offering a different way of seeing and being. I’m dedicated to waking people up who want to be awake and to not disturbing those who prefer to stay asleep. I’m like the snooze button on your clock radio…relentless for about an hour…either you’ll wake up and get up, or go back to sleep and give up. To borrow a line from the poem in the post below:

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a 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.


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