"A Ritual to Read to Each Other" is a poem I love and that I've loved for years. Wanted to log it on this page so I can come back to it. :) I like most that it is a ritual. Because a message like this, is one I find useful to remember over and over. The line "For it is important that awake people be awake" causes me to think about a cl post I put up somewhere in the world other than where I live. What a unique way to love on someone I don't know from afar... :). It's like my old days (jr high through college) of writing anonymous encouragement notes.
Learn more about William Stafford or buy his poetry here.
A Ritual to Read to Each Other
by William Stafford, from "The Darkness Around Us Is Deep"
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 dike.
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 in 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 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.
You can find more poems by William Stafford online, as well as a Memorial Page published by Greywolf Press.