Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

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, no, or maybe -
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

William Stafford


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this Billie. A beautiful, beautiful poem.

Indeed, the darkness around us is deep.

shara said...

Billie, what a good poem for me to read this morning, I'm consumed with anguish (I tend towards extreme displays of emotion but it's only because the intensity of the feeling is so immense, I can't seem to dull it, though lord knows I have tried in various ways over the years) about my middle daughter, so much like me, and how the school circus makes her so tentative, when at home she's such a creative, bright-eyed, awake girl - and I'm struggling with the knowledge that in the long run being awake, while more painful/blissful than sleeping, is so much harder to fit into the color-inside-the-lines world of public education. Even though her school is a good one, and everyone means well, it's still just obedience training in fancy clothes, like magic by numbers, with all the lines and colours already picked out. I worry too much. I hate the fact that her natural joy and wonder gets dampened and her language gets confused with her penmanship. I need to go spend some time outside, I think, I'm a mess this morning. Sometimes it would be so much easier to be asleep, wouldn't it? And I apologize for such a long and rambling comment. I stayed up too late last night and I have no skin to buffer anything this morning.

billie said...

Jason, you're most welcome.

Shara, I understand (I think) about your middle daughter, who reminds me of my son. We decided when he was an infant to homeschool, because of the exact reasons you express so succinctly. There are days when I wonder at my sanity doing this, but for the most part it works well for us.

I will say, though, that I was a child who was creative and very awake at home, but tentative in school - and while it probably did dampen things down a bit early on, I absolutely burst forth near the end of high school. So I think it will be okay for her - but I know the worry these sorts of decisions can bring.

Write as much as you want here - I love reading your musings and insights.