The Way It Is

Tangled threads. photo wcw

This poem by William Stafford speaks of a thread, I feel it also speaks to the times.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.

THE WAY IT IS by 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 can do to stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

9 thoughts on “The Way It Is

  1. Janet, this is the perfect poem to leave 2020 behind and start this new year as we continue to hold onto the thread. It is also my favorite Stafford poem. If you like his poetry and thoughts on writing, I highly recommend reading Early Mornings: Remembering My Father, William Stafford, by his son, Kim Stafford. The main chapter headings are made of lines from this poem.

    Much to my surprise, I came across a quote from the Vedic Literature with a similar theme, only it extends it to its ultimate spiritual conclusion. So I call this grouping: uncommon thread … cosmic thread. It’s from Atharva Veda Samhita 10.8.37.

    He who knows the fine-drawn thread of which the creatures that we see are spun, who knows the thread of that same thread—he also knows Brahman, the Ultimate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it has been in my head for the last few weeks and it felt like an way to transit from one year to the next and not let go of the thread. I will keep the book on my list to read.
      I really like how you dig even deeper and have links on your site that adds to the experience of the poem.
      Blessings and good health to you in this New Year.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Marni
      Last summer when I was taking photos in the garden I got that shot. I was actually surprised when I downloaded it and saw the ‘threads’ with the new buds extending out.
      Today when I was looking for a photo for the poem it just seemed perfect. Thank you for noticing. Best to you in this New Year.


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