The Way It Is (William Stafford)

This has long been one of my favorite poems for the way it describes the remarkable power of human beings to persevere, endure, and re-emerge. Within a spiritual context it speaks to me of the mystery of faith, by which those who believe can have confidence in hidden guidance, and take hope even in the midst of personal or public calamity. I just read that it was written less than a month before William Stafford passed away.

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

Source: William Stafford, The Way It Is, 1998. Found online here.

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