Sometimes I think the whole purpose of writing, art, life and other related stuff is this simple: Be present. Maybe I'm just a big old hippy. Still, I like being reminded of that and this poem by William Stafford does the trick. The poem also means a lot to me because a wonderful poet friend, Don Colburn, who studied under Stafford, gave me a lovely printed version of the poem which I keep on my desk. More effective than "Be Here Now," easier than meditating and -- bonus! -- totally legal unlike certain drugs which have been known to induce similar feelings. You Reading This, Be Ready
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. This 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?
~ William Stafford ~