Friday, August 03, 2018

Poetry Friday: The Way It Is

Looking for a back-to-school poem for next week, I opened my copy of Teaching With Heart: Poetry That Speaks to the Courage to Teach, edited by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner.  I picked this one, "The Way It Is," for the way that it sums up some of what I feel as I head into this new school year.  (Check out yesterday's post for some more of my thoughts on that.)

The Way It Is
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 do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread.

Today's roundup is at A Year of Reading


Mary Lee said...

I was weeding my classroom library and found a picture book signed by William Stafford! How could I have forgotten that I owned it?!? it is home with me now, safe on my poetry shelf.

This anthology is one of my favorites. You have inspired me to go find a poem that will light my way for this school year!

Linda Mitchell said...

Wow! That is a great poem. And, wonderful for a new school year, new students. I love that it's about life...not about "school". Please let us know what the reaction to this is if you share it at school. I"d love to know.

Tara said...

I've always loved this Stafford poem - a wonderful perspective on life, really. And you are right, Ruth - this would be a good poem for the beginning of the school year.

Jone said...

One of my favorite poems by a favorite poet. I love that book.

Linda B said...

It's a favorite poem, and I've used it at the end of the year, saying goodbye. It will be great to use at the beginning, too. I haven't read Teaching with Heart, but love Teaching With Fire, Ruth. Your title must be full of inspiration, too.

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

I love that you've given them an anchor for their year of learning, a thread to hold to as they change and grow.

Michelle Kogan said...

This poem by Stafford reminds me of a poem you would write. Thanks for your spiritual post from the day before. I always want summer to linger on longer and never seem quite ready for the shift in season. Thanks for the poem and the book too!

Kay said...

I do like that poem--may we all hang on tightly to the thread we are following. I'm guessing that this volume is a companion to one of my favorites--TEACHING WITH FIRE: POETRY THAT SUSTAINS THE COURAGE TO TEACH.

Margaret Simon said...

I love Stafford's work. This poem speaks to the love in my heart for teaching. I grasp for that thread every beginning of the year when I get bogged down in preparations and scheduling. Once the kids come, it's all worth it.

Megan Scribner said...

Thanks Ruth for posting this poem -- it's one of my favorite poems by Stafford. It helps me to see the threads in my life and to take strength in following them. As co-editor of Teaching with Heart and Teaching with Fire, I also wanted to thank you for referencing and posting the cover of Teaching with Heart on your blog (and thanks to the others who commented here about TWH and Teaching with Fire). I hope you and everyone else will check out the website inspired by the books: - and consider sending in a reflection for the blog. We'd love to hear about how your summer has been, how you're gearing up for the school year, a reflection on your favorite poem - or anything else you'd like to share. (You can also fill out the Teacher's Talk interview questions or subscribe to the blog and be entered to win books each month.) Feel free to contact me directly at: Thanks again! Megan