William Stafford—The Way It Is

This is my favorite William Stafford poem, and, 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.


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.

—William Stafford


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.

—Atharva Veda Samhita 10.8.37


Listen to The Way It Is performed by Daniel Sperry from his CD: William Stafford: Cutting Loose ~ A Tribute To William Stafford.

See a video of cellist and composer Daniel Sperry perform William Stafford’s poem, “The Way It Is.”

And see William Stafford’s last poem: “Are you Mr. William Stafford?” also performed by Daniel Sperry.

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8 Responses to “William Stafford—The Way It Is”

  1. Pablo Saborio Says:

    Great, thank you for sharing these…


  2. Joe Toth Says:

    Beautiful!! There is something very similar in the conclusion of Mouse Hunt http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119715/ a comedy full of hilarious gags


  3. Time for some humor and love — WELCOME BACK | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] poem by William Stafford—The Way It Is describes the kind of perspective on life Larry Darrell came to […]


  4. William Stafford’s last poem now seemed prophetic—an unintended literary epitaph | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] William Stafford—The Way It Is, also recorded by Daniel Sperry, and other Stafford poems I love posted on The Uncarved […]


  5. Cellist and composer Daniel Sperry performs William Stafford’s poem, “The Way It Is” | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] is my favorite poem by William Stafford—The Way It Is. I had found a verse from one of the Vedas that extends the theme in the poem to its ultimate […]


  6. Another poem about Sali’s essential nature | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] William Stafford—The Way It Is, including the Vedic expression I added. It extends the poem’s theme to its ultimate […]


  7. Rick Hotton and Holy Mole´make us laugh and learn “what is essential is invisible to the eye” | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Speaking of a fundamental thread that’s invisible to the eye, see William Stafford—The Way It Is. […]


  8. William Stafford—Ask Me | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] He concluded with reading the poem, Ask Me. It’s one of my favorite Stafford poems along with The Way It Is, You and Art, When I Met My Muse, and many more posted on my […]


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