The Deep

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

This poem was sent to me today by a very sweet person. Thank you sweet person. To know what occurs but not recognize the fact. Yeah. There is that. I had a dream this morning in the fleeting moments before I woke, I spent half the day lost in its sensory detail: an interlude without the betrayal of my mind.

Walking down a street I suddenly turned left
onto a large wide winter-clean boardwalk
rising up over the descent down to the ocean.
The water was transparent, each grain of sand a cause for celebration.
There were no thoughts in my head.
In the folding of the dream, now naked,
I was running towards the water.
So clear. A perfect steel grey.
Not knowing I was going to do it,
I dove in hands leading and swam out through
the lumbering waves and into the deep.
The water! The water! So cold it had no temperature,
so clean it had no weight,
I swam until my memory of the littoral plane almost snapped
and then I turned around and began the swim back:
aware that my limbs were becoming numb,
my motion disorganized and strained by
the paralysis of the the intense clean cold.
I never thought I wouldn’t make it back to the shore.

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4 responses to “The Deep

  1. When something is so good it is bad. So blue it is red.
    Do you really think that lots of people are asleep? I have always wondered about this. I walk along the beautiful beach in North Carolina with the hot sun on my back looking into the other sun worshipper’s faces; Do they think the beach will be swallowed by the rising oceans of global warming by 2020? Do they ever wonder if every day might not get hotter and hotter until we are all sizzling like meat on a bar b que? Do they think about how each day, they are one day closer to death? Do they wonder what I am thinking?

  2. I do. Somedays I am even jealous of them. But not really. If we are not in these bodies to feel as much as we can, then there really is no point.

  3. For what it’s worth, I agree.

  4. Oh, for what it’s worth…I have no idea, Sara, what the worth of anything is, but I value your comments and your friendship.

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