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Ask Me by William Stafford

Max Beckmann, Moon Landscape (Frankfurt am Main)

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.

 

William Edgar Stafford (January 17, 1914 – August 28, 1993) was an American poet and pacifist. He was the father of poet and essayist Kim Stafford.

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