This week I offer you a poem. William Stafford touches into a silence that resonates with the sacred art of listening – at least to my ears. If this poem resonates with you, with your listening practice, or with anything that moves you, I would love to hear about it… I will listen. What do you say?
One thing before you read the poem below… I encourage you to read this poem out loud. Resist reading it silently. If you are not in a place where you can read it out loud, wait. Read it when you can speak it. If you have someone you can read it out loud to, all the better. Poems come to life through the human voice. If you stumble while reading it… no problem. Read it out loud again. Read it out loud slowly. It might just nourish you like comfort food, a fine dining experience, or a snack on a picnic blanket with your true love.
with deep affection, trust, and gratitude,
Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.