Ask Me, by William Stafford

24 November 2014

Doing my ironing this evening I listened to a BBC Radio 4 documentary on William Stafford, a poet I had never previously heard of. He wrote a poem every day for over 50 years – over 20,000 in total. That’s a resolution that far outstrips the one at the genesis of this blog, to read a poem every day – which while keeping up much longer than its original year, is now also long lapsed.

This is one of his poems, featured in the documentary.

//

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.

[Ripped from http://www.poemhunter.com/best-poems/william-stafford/ask-me/]

William Kherbek published a collection this autumn entirely on YouTube, called Ephemera. This is one of the 45 poems: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLWeOYWoin4