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“Wake up about four in the morning” May 22, 2010

Posted by Jenny in literature, poetry.
Tags: ,

This is a poem by William Stafford that I like very much. It has a bite to it. But it also offers us something.


Freedom is not following a river.

Freedom is following a river,

though, if you want to.

It is deciding now by what happens now.

It is knowing that luck makes a difference.

* * *

No leader is free; no follower is free—

the rest of us can often be free.

Most of the world are living by

creeds too odd, chancy, and habit-forming

to be worth arguing about by reason.

* * *

If you are oppressed, wake up about

four in the morning: most places,

you can usually be free some of the time

if you wake up before other people.

From The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems. Graywolf Press, 1997.



1. Thomas Stazyk - May 26, 2010

Great poem–thanks! If you like that one you might enjoy this one by Peter Hooper, a New Zealand poet from the 1960s:

III Please may I go out?

I’m not a bum
I’ve got a bank account
but I couldn’t
go on any longer
making money
teaching lies

I needed to find
a new kind of truth
or maybe only
a very old truth
or just look
at things
that mightn’t be here

I’ve stepped off
an island
I’m afloat
do you know
any direction
worth sailing?

2. Jenny - May 26, 2010

Hah! I love it! For some reason I’ve been in a surly mood this week, and this poem just suits me down to the ground!

3. a loyal reader from Flatlands - May 29, 2010

Two great poems, from poets I have never heard of. Thanks, Jenny and Thomas.

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