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 dyke.
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.
William Stafford's Other Poems
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(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(1 February 1878 - 3 May 1916)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
(22 August 1893 - 7 June 1967)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 August 1880 – 9 November 1918)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
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