Old mistakes come calling: no life
happens just once. Whatever snags
even the edge of your days will abide.
You are a turtle with all the years on your back.
Maybe people have to go in and out of shadows
till they learn that floating, that immensity;
maybe somebody has to explore what happens
when one of us wanders over near the edge.
Whatever fits will be welcome, whatever
steps back in the fog will disappear,
as you will, wherever you go after this day,
just a stop by the road, and a glimpse of someone’s life.
Is there a way to be gone and still
belong? Travel that takes you home?
It’s heavy to drag, this big sack of what
you should have done.
And now if there is any light at all
it knows how to rest on the faces of friends.
Touches of wind. The room you have
in the world is ready to change.
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found.
Well, it was yesterday. And the sun came,
© Bill Prindle, 2015
Sources: lines selected from poems written by William Stafford in 1993, the last year of his life. The last three lines end the poem he wrote the day he died. All selections from The Way it Is.
|Turtle popping its head above water|
Photo by William Warby
from Wikimedia Commons