Daily Prompt: Earworm

Daily Prompt: Earworm.

While walking my dog the other day, a poem by William Safford kept floating through my mind. I found this work years ago and his words have haunted me ever since. I feel this is one of the most eloquent, beautiful poems I’ve ever read and I like to contemplate the meanings that resonate in it. Maybe it’s the idea of rituals, the imagery of elephants, the call to action and to thinking for oneself, the sense of mystery that the final lines invoke…Maybe it’s the notion that we all must make concerted efforts to be present, to listen to and communicate with one another – something that sounds so simple but is in fact so damn hard…Maybe it’s just the mercurial aspect of the poem and the fact that it challenges me each time I read it. Don’t know… just love it.

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

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


About waggingmytale

I am an English teacher, writer, animal lover, and aspiring athlete. If you stop by and read or "stumble" upon my blog, please leave a comment and say hello. It's nice to know who visits :-) Namaste!
This entry was posted in Daily Prompt Challenge, Thinking Outloud. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Daily Prompt: Earworm

  1. Paul Schrading says:

    Thanks for the poem. It is creative, insightful and challenging. Poetry is a language we seem to overlook too often.

  2. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Earworm | Nanuschka's Blog

  3. This is indeed a great poem to treasure and recall through life.

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