You Reading This, Be Ready

By William Stafford

by William Stafford

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. The interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life—
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

from The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems
William Stafford lived from 1914 to 1996. He spent the last half of his life in
Oregon, where he was Poet Laureate from 1975 to 1990

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