The Way It Is
William Stafford

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

Still here, quietly following the trail that . . . weave . . . is leaving for me.

This month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the threads that come together as we weave our lives. The Way It Is, a poem by William Stafford, always speaks to me (it has “lived” in my favorite-poems collection for many years now), but seems especially appropriate for me this year.

We can’t do anything to stop time’s unfolding, no. But if we keep hold of the thread . . . if we can hold our centers . . . well, we can weather the passing time. And . . . we can continue adding new threads to our weaving, making it stronger and more interesting all the time.

Today’s poem is from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems by William Stafford, published by Graywolf Press in March 1999. You can find out more about the poet here.