You Reading This . . .

What took me so long to find William Stafford?

He is an Oregon icon, a Pacific Northwest treasure, and a prolific writer respected on a national scale (said to have written a poem each day, for decades). He passed away in 1993 but he left us with nearly 50 books of poetry and thousands of poems.

Here's one of my favorites:

You Reading This, Be Ready

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?

— William Stafford
From The Way It Is
Graywolf Press, St. Paul, 1998