William Stafford’s three-part solution to our problems

Prolific poet William Stafford wrote a poem a day for over forty years – over 20,000 poems. In his poem Allegiances, he wrote these words, seemingly written for these times:

“While strange beliefs whine at the traveler’s ears, we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love where we are, strong for common things.” – William Stafford

We can’t be where we want to be today – whether on vacation, out to a movie, out to eat, seeing family, physically at work.

But we always have an opportunity to love where we are. What other options do we have?

There are strange, troubling beliefs whining at our internal-traveler’s ears, especially if we are tuned in to the news, to Twitter, to Facebook. 

The solution?

  1. Cling to the earth
  2. Love where we are
  3. Be strong for common things

Here’s the poem it’s from:

Allegiances

by William Stafford from “The way it is: new and selected poems”

It is time for all the heroes to go home
if they have any; time for all of us common ones
to locate ourselves by the real things
we live by.

Far to the North, or indeed in any direction,
strange mountains and creatures have always lurked—
elves, goblins, trolls and spiders — we
encounter them in dread and wonder,

But once we have touched the far streams, touched the gold,
found some limit beyond the waterfall.
a season changes, and we come back, changed
but safe, quiet, grateful.

Suppose an insane wind holds the hills
while strange beliefs whine at the traveler’s ears,
we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
where we are, strong for common things.

Learn moreResiliency: Five Keys to Success – Leverage the five principles of resiliency, engagement, efficiency, endurance, flexibility, and loving the game, for peak work performance and enjoyment.

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