Thursday, January 20, 2011

'You Reading This, Be Ready'

The Old Wood Floor In The Old Book Store (color) by John Ayo
The Old Wood Floor In The Old Book Store (color) by John Ayo



You Reading This, Be Ready
                               ~ by William Stafford

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into
evening
all that you want from this day. This interval
you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life --

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you
turn
   around?

(You Reading This, Be Ready, Aug. 26, 1993,
from The Way It Is, Graywolf Press, St. Paul, MN)



.

24 comments:

mythopolis said...

Excellent! Be here now!

Indigo said...

Beautiful thoughts for a cold winters day. Loved this! (Hugs)Indigo

English Rider said...

I relate to so many Stafford poems. He's right, we get to choose to appreciate and carry good memories forward.

Freda said...

This kind of being attentive to the present moment is a gift we would do well to remember. I love the picture.

kathew said...

he was such a lovely man and poet.
Thanks for posting this

Words A Day said...

This is so strange.
I'd never heard of him, or that poem but today I've come across the poem three times - a woman on a poetry course I'm doing emailed it to me, then it was referenced on another blog I follow and now here...and its exactly what I need to hear!
Thanks!

kj said...

oh my my my my. perfect words tonight. and written like i pretend i can write....

Lydia said...

mythopolis~ Absolutely!

Indigo~ and I loved your visit!

English Rider~ Oh, ditto here. He is one of my most favorite poets. He couldn't have written anything mediocre if he had tried!

Freda~ Glad you mentioned the picture because I so wanted to post the poem but I decided I would not do so unless I found just the right image to go with it. :)

kathew~ You are right; he was that. Thanks for being here. :)

Words A Day~ That is really special! Our local paper printed this poem at the new year and I cut it out to share. Stafford is one of my favorite poets. He was Oregon Poet Laureate from 1974-1989, during which time he was the keynote speaker at my ex-husband's graduation from law school. One of the best speeches I ever heard. I have prior posts with some of his poems here, and here, here, and my favorite poem by Stafford, here.

kj~ You are witty, wise, and wonderful. xo

Lydia said...

Words A Day~ Actually my favorite poem by Stafford is this one! I messed up the link in my other message to you by linking twice to the Muse poem (which is marvelous also).

La Belette Rouge said...

This poem, in so many ways, speaks to the philosophical battle I am waging. Thank you so much, Lydia.
xoxo

Lydia said...

Belette Rouge~ I am so happy it resonates with you now. It has had special meaning for me since I read it on New Years Day. I may commit it to memory...
xoxo

distracted by shiny objects said...

Again, this is perfection. This will get posted on our bathroon mirror--or maybe, where we sit and drink our morning coffee. Thanks!

Erin Davis said...

I had not read this before, so thank you! Why are your posts always like therapy to me, Lydia?

Lydia said...

distracted~ I put it on my closet wall next to the mirror. :) So glad it meant a lot to you, too.

Erin~ It was new to me too. I'm honored by your question!
Great to have you back blogging.

Shaista said...

Oh wow. Wow wow! He really transcends doesn't he? I love his poem on Waking at 3am :)
And have you read Wild Geese by Mary Oliver? I love that one...
I was never really exposed to the canon of American poets - I did English Lit in England, and it was very much Austen, Woolf, Wordsworth and Keats :)

In case the hubby is still ill, here's a link for a programme on Noor (which is one of my favourite names too - since it means Light)... :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JRYeo3kQ4E

susan said...

I was there yesterday.
I'll be somewhere else tomorrow.
Only a sense of wonder keeps me here now.

Lydia said...

Shaista~ Yes he does indeed transcend. His poem Waking at 3 a.m. is the best description of the darkness in the middle of the night that there ever could be. I've experienced it, but sure could not write it (not like that anyway).
Hubby is still sick, worse actually, so I expect him to be home tomorrow. Either way, I will view the program on Noor then and thank you so much for the link. "Light" :)

susan~ What a poetic and profound comment. I have read it and reread it! Thank you.

izzy said...

Oh- nothing quite like an old wood floor!
and add books to that- wow. Good creaky floors too, in old houses- I know where most of my stairs creak -on a tight turn
where I can't avoid it! Thanks.

Stickup Artist said...

Hi Lydia, thank you for your visit and kind words. You asked what kind of camera I have. It's the CANON 2Ti with the kit lens plus a Canon 70-300mm Zoom lens.

I love poetry too and have never heard of William Stafford. These are wonderful, uplifting words to start my day with. It's easier to change one's own attitude rather than changing the rest of the world!

Owen said...

Simply beautiful... the poem and the old wood floor in the old book store. To use a baseball analogy, you hit this one right out of the park. And it is still sailing off into the distance, into the hall of fame of memorable posts...

Now am off to look for more Stafford. What a pleasure.

Lydia said...

izzy~ Hah! Our stairs don't turn so if you go side to side you can avoid some creaks. I love old houses with great strong wood making the skeletons. :)

Stickup Artist~ Thank you for getting back to me on my camera query. I don't ask often, but when I do it seems the answer is always a Canon of some type or another. You and your Canon are magic together!
Happy to introduce William Stafford to you, and I love your final sentence in summation.

Owen~ Why, thank you kindly for the kind comment! I won't forget that description. Enjoy your moments with Stafford, now and in the future...

K. said...

This is one of the wonderful hidden attractions of Washington state, unfortunately largely in disrepair. We were able to find four of them a few years back.

John's Secret Identity™ said...

Thank you very much for including the credit and link with my photo.

I've been doing image-based searches tonight and you wouldn't believe how many people will just take any image they find on the web and use it commercially, or use it editorially as you have here but without credit.

Again, thanks!
John Ayo

Lydia said...

John Ayo ~ Oh, it is the right thing to do and my pleasure, most definitely! (I do the same when posting at facebook, as I am aware how uncommon it is there.) This spectacular image by you is one of my absolute favorites here at my blog, and my blog is almost six years old so there have been lots of images shared. What a gift you have! I really appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.

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