The Way It Is by William Stafford

I am offering to you a poem today that is short but says a lot. I can’t recall where I found this gem but here is what I found out about the poet:

William Edgar Stafford (January 17, 1914 – August 28, 1993) was an American poet and pacifist. One striking feature of his career is its late start. Stafford was 48 years old when his first major collection of poetry was published, Traveling Through the Dark, which won the 1963 National Book Award for Poetry. His poems are typically short, focusing on the earthy, accessible details appropriate to a specific locality.”


The Way It Is by William Stafford

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.


This poem speaks volumes to me. It does. I know what thread I am following. And yes, my people wonder about it. I try to explain sometimes but words often fail me. It is hard for others to see. I get that. I know I need to hold on to it so that I don’t get lost. Even as time unfolds steadily, I know I will not let go of my thread. I must not.



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