Monday, February 7, 2011

Poem: A Ritual Road to Each Other (Stafford)

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 dikes.

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 gets 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.


  1. This is an intriguing poem.
    I have just been listening to someone talking about wilful blindness and this resonates with the concept.

  2. I can think of several people for whom this poem can speak profoundly to them.