Addendum December, 2006
   As we gather together this Christmas,
poems by William Stafford come to mind.  
The darkness around us is deep…
being awake is essential.  
Close friends are a treasure.  
I wish we had less space between us…to enjoy the company.  

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life gets lost in the dark.  

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear:  the darkness around us is deep.
                                   William Stafford


How far friends are!  They forget you,
most days.  They have to, I know; but still,
it’s lonely just being far and a friend.
I put my hand out—this chair, this table—
so near:  touch, that’s how to live.
Call up a friend?  All right, but the phone
itself is what loves you, warm on your ear,
on your hand.  Or, you lift a pen
to write—it’s not that far person
but this familiar pen that comforts.
Near things:  Friend, here’s my hand.
                                   William Stafford