Thursday, September 24, 2009

William Stafford Said

“Kids: they dance before they learn
there is anything that isn't music.”
William Stafford

"It's love," they say. You touch
the right one and a whole half
of the universe wakes up, a new half.”
William Stafford

“I embrace emerging experience.
I participate in discovery.
I am a butterfly.
I am not a butterfly collector.
I want the experience of the butterfly.”
William Stafford

“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.”
William Stafford

“Let the bucket of memory down into the well,
bring it up. Cool, cool minutes. No one
stirring, no plans. Just being there.”
William Stafford

“The more you let yourself be distracted
from where you are going, the more you
are the person that you are. It's not
so much like getting lost as it is like
getting found.”
William Stafford

“. . . You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon,
long aisles -- you never heard so deep
a sound, moss on rock, and years.
You turn your head --
that's what the silence meant:
you're not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.”
William Stafford

“I keep following this sort of hidden
river of my life, you know, whatever
the topic or impulse which comes,
I follow it along trustingly. And I
don't have any sense of its coming to
a kind of crescendo, or of its petering
out either. It is just going steadily along.”
William Stafford

“Even the upper end of the river
believes in the ocean.”
William Stafford

“One way to find your place is like
the rain, a million requests
for lodging, one that wins, finds
your cheek: you find your home.”
William Stafford

“I think language does bring us together.
Fragile and misleading as it is, it's
the best communication we've got, and
poetry is language at its most intense
and potentially fulfilling. Poems do
bring people together.”
William Stafford

“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.”
William Stafford

“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 not started to say them. That 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 . . .”
William Stafford

“They tell how it was, and how time
came along, and how it happened
again and again. They tell
the slant life takes when it turns
and slashes your face as a friend.”
William Stafford

“They miss the whisper that runs
any day in your mind,
"Who are you really, wanderer?"
and the answer you have to give
no matter how dark and cold
the world around you is:
"Maybe I'm a king."”
William Stafford

“Poetry is the kind of thing you have
to see from the corner of your eye.
You can be too well prepared for poetry.
A conscientious interest in it is worse
than no interest at all. . . .
It's like a very faint star. If you look
straight at it you can't see it, but if
you look a little to one side it is there.”
William Stafford

“Silence on a hill where the path ended
and then the forest below
moving in one long whisper
as evening touched the leaves.”
William Stafford

“The saddest are those not right in
their lives who are acting to make things
right for others:
they act only from the self --
and that self will never be right:
no luck, no help, no wisdom.”
William Stafford

“So, the world happens twice --
once what we see it as;
second it legends itself
deep, the way it is.”
William Stafford

“The ocean and I have many pebbles
To find and wash off and roll into shape.”
William Stafford

“At noon in the desert a panting lizard
waited for history, its elbows tense,
watching the curve of a particular road
as if something might happen.”
William Stafford

“I have woven a parachute out of
everything broken.”
William Stafford

“Willows never forget how it feels
to be young.
Do you remember where you came from?”
William Stafford

“Wisdom is having things right in
your life and knowing why.”
William Stafford

“I just kept on doing what everyone starts
out doing. The real question is, why did
other people stop?”
William Stafford

“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.”
William Stafford

“Next time what I'd do is look at
the earth before saying anything.
I'd stop just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
or to the air being still.”
William Stafford

“When I dream at night, they save
a place for me, no matter how small,
somewhere by the fire.”
William Stafford

“The world speaks everything to us.
It is our only friend.”
William Stafford

“I'll be me, but I don't like it.”
William Stafford

“You happy beings, watch every face
for those you pass caught in the midst
of life by some horror, their souls
gone dim, cursed or unlucky,
exiled under a stone.”
William Stafford

“A great snug wall goes around
everything, has always been there,
will always remain. It is a good world
to be lost in. It comforts you.
It is all right. And you sleep.”
William Stafford

“And all the time it's your own story,
even when you think -- "It's all just
made up, a trick. What is the author
trying to do?" Reader, we are in such
a story: all of this is trying to arrange
a kind of prayer for you. Pray for me.”
William Stafford

“Exactly at midnight
yesterday sighs away.”
William Stafford

“And sometimes when they look
in the fire they see time going on
and someone alone,
but they don't say anything.”
William Stafford

“All right. I listen. My life sinks
a little farther, for the pity;
from now on I know it
with them. We'll take a stand, wherever
the end is. We go forward by this quiet
sharing, they one way, I another.
I am their promise:
no one else is going to know.”
William Stafford

“It is time for all the heroes
to go home if they have any, time for
all of us common ones
to locate ourselves by the real things
we live by.”
William Stafford

“You don't need many words if you
already know what you're talking about.”
William Stafford

“I embrace emerging experience.
I participate in discovery.
I am a butterfly.
I am not a butterfly collector.
I want the experience of the butterfly.”
William Stafford

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