An Introduction to Some Poems
Look: no one ever promised for sure
that we would sing. We have decided
to moan. In a strange dance that
we don’t understand till we do it, we
have to carry on.
Just as in sleep you have to dream
the exact dream to round out your life,
so we have to live that dream into stories
and hold them close at you, close at the
edge we share, to be right.
We find it an awful thing to meet people,
serious or not, who have turned into vacant
effective people, so far lost that they
won’t believe their own feelings
enough to follow them out.
The authentic is a line from one thing
along to the next; it interests us.
strangely, it relates to what works,
but is not quite the same. It never
swerves for revenge,
Or profit, or fame: it holds
together something more than the world,
this line. And we are your wavery
efforts at following it. Are you coming?
Good: now it is time.
by William Stafford
from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems
Graywolf Press, 1998