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William Stafford - A Ritual To Read To Each Other

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.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 124 times | Comments and analysis of A Ritual To Read To Each Other by William Stafford Comments (72)

A Ritual To Read To Each Other - Comments and Information

Poet: William Stafford
Poem: A Ritual To Read To Each Other
Poem of the Day: Jul 21 2011

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Comment 71 of 72, added on May 31st, 2015 at 1:06 AM.
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Comment 70 of 72, added on April 7th, 2015 at 5:54 AM.
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nick crorkz from Costa Rica

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