“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
~Henri Cartier-Bresson



Friday, June 25, 2010

The Net of my Memory



The Gift

Time wants to show you a different country.
It's the one that your life conceals,
the one waiting outside when curtains are drawn,
 the one Grandmother hinted at
 in her crochet design,
the one almost found
over at the edge of the music,
after the sermon.

It's the way life is,
and you have it, a few years given.
You get killed now and then,
violated in various ways.
(And sometimes it's turn about.)
You get tired of that. Long-suffering,
 you wait and pray, and maybe good things come
- maybe the hurt slackens
and you hardly feel it any more.
You have a breath without pain.
It is called happiness.

It's a balance, the taking and passing along,
the composting of where you've been
 and how people and weather treated you.
 It's a country where you already are,
 bringing where you have been.
Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
turning the world, moving the air,
calling,every morning,
 "Here, take it, it's yours."

~ William Stafford ~
1914-1993

(The photos are of my mother, father and myself around 1947 at Harbor Gate housing in Richmond, California.)

I love this poem. I hope someone "gets" this poem like I did. Please leave your thoughts even if you don't usually comment. I would like to hear what others have to say about this poet and THIS poem. William Stafford was an American and a contemporary of my parents. He was born the same year that my father was.
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9 comments:

Madeline's Album said...

Great post. Love the poem and the pictures. Have a blessed day. Madeline

Anonymous said...

Ah, there's a familiar-looking family! Oh my, Harbor Gate. There were lots of kids who moved to Gregory Gardens from Harbor Gate. We lived in the Canal Apartments, ‘housing units’, as my mother always referred to them. I found very few kids who had been at the Canal Apartments, most of those Richmond transplants seemed to come from Harbor Gate. I see by my Google search that the correct name was “Canal War Apartments”. Both were erected as temporary public housing during the influx of some 70,000 people who flocked to Richmond between 1940 and 1943 to do war work in the Kaiser Shipyards.
Dawn

LV said...

Sorry, I am not familiar with this writing. I really enjoyed it though and it has a great message.

Riki Schumacher said...

Hi Connie, its a reminder to me to treasure each moment, we don't get to repeat it. Treasure family, for they are a gift. Lovely poem. Hugs, Riki

Little Messy Missy said...

Very nice! Great poem and family pics...happy Sunday to you!

Kerry O'Gorman said...

I absoloutley love this poem. 'The breath without pain...The composting of where you've been'...such visual words, if that makes any sense. He has captured the way a life can go so brilliantly. Thanks for this post. p.s you were a cute little thing!

Madeline's Album said...

I thought I'd left a comment yesterday but it must not have taken. Love the poem and your pictures. Thank you for your visit and kind comment on my last post. Have a blessed day. Madeline

castlewon said...

William Stafford--one of my two or three all-time favorites

Anonymous said...

Habor Gate,Griffen Ave the last street before you head towards Butler Iron works, oh the open fields we ran as kids. Mrs Wall my lst grade teacher.