A Poem A Day

William Stafford was an American Poet, raised in the midwest of the United States in the 1900s. He wrote this poem, one that I once memorized and used often:

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow.
It goes among things that change.
But it doesn’t change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die;
and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.

I’ve heard that William Stafford wrote a poem every day for decades. Someone once asked him, “What if you write a lousy poem?” I’m told his response was, “I lower my standards.”

I love this poem. I love even more that exchange.

It speaks to practice. It speaks to not getting stuck. It speaks to refining one’s crafts. It speaks to an internal kindness. It speaks to humility. It speaks to commitment. It speaks to freedom. It speaks to imagination.

Any of those are good threads, no?

 

 

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