Monday, March 2, 2009

it is important that awake people be awake*




A Ritual to Read to Each Other
                             * by William Stafford

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.



Photo: Break Time, Rockefeller Center, 1932 by Charles C. Ebbets


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13 comments:

cathwrynn said...

I recommend Meanwhile:this world to add to your blogs with brains, heart and soul

secret, fragile skies said...

beautiful post, poem.

Steve Morozumi said...

as a former rock climber hoping to get back to it soon, that photo was both inspiring and scary as hell! i dig it! is it real, or rigged? if it's real and one of those guys made a sudden move, they would all have some risk in falling. you can catch yourself if you do start to fall a lot of times, but sometimes not.

beautiful poem! goes really well with the photo. really conveys the idea that we're all in it together! excellent! thanks so much for that!

-Steve @ fluxlife

Melinda said...

I've never read that poem before, Lydia--and when I read it, it brought tears to my eyes. Perhaps it is because I have been working on editing/revising the childhood sections of my memoir . . .

"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."

That spoke to me deeply--and I thank you for sharing it with me (us).

Melinda

The Acolyte Tao said...

Important to be awake? Is there anything but being awake?
Seriously, you never 'sleep,' you just chose to not be conscious when you rest your physical body and forget what is going on. I really have to say though, sometimes I like to forget my being conscious and just "sleep." But that's just a psychological thing, makes me think I'm getting more rest when I'm always getting the same. Hm.

distracted by shiny objects said...

oh, I love this poem and what a great photograph. You are having a love affair with heights lately:>)

Buddha said...

There is no danger being awake as there is no danger being in peaceful slumber.
Just don't mix the dreams and reality together and everybody will be just fine!
IMO
But then again I've been known to be wrong before :)

Lydia said...

@Cathwrynn- It's just great to have you and your recommendation here. I'll enjoy looking at your blog and the one you mentioned also.

@secret, fragile skies- Thanks. :)

@Steve- Oh, you're a former climber! So was Wayfaring Wanderer in my blogroll.
Yup, that shot is legitimate. During the building of the Manhattan skyline there was this (farsighted) idea that photographers should capture the time. There are quite a few amazing shots online and books that make me dizzy to look at.
Thanks...when I read the poem I thought it fit the photo too.

@Melinda- Dear you for finding something in the poem that moved you. Dear William Stafford for writing poetry that had such depth and relevance for you (us).

@Acolyte Tao- You present an interesting twist to the concept of sleep. I wonder what they'd do with you in those sleep labs.....my sense is that you would utterly confound them! :)

@Distracted- Hey Everybody....her blog was just selected this week as a BLOG OF NOTE! ....... It took you to point out to me that I am having a love affair with heights lately! You're right! Now I have to ponder why this is true.....

@Buddha- Makes sense to me. And tell me, just when was it that you were wrong? :)

Khaled KEM said...

I enjoyed that poem and I will definitely look for William Stafford other poems.
A lovely blog!

Rhiannon said...

I absolutely love this Lydia. There couldn't be a more perfect timing for me to have read it then now..thank your for sharing it..

Love and Blessings,

Rhi

Lydia said...

@Khaled KEM- I so appreciate you being here and leaving kind comments. I do believe that you will enjoy reading his poetry. Now I'm on my way to visit your blog.....

@Rhi- I am thrilled that this post coincided with the time you could most appreciate it! :)

Kirie said...

Oh, this is one of my favorites!!! I love it, and with the photo and title you've selected for this post--gorgeous, and rich.

xo
Kirie

Lydia said...

@Kirie- Mine too. I'm so glad you appreciated the full package. :)

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