Main Content

Some time when the river is ice ask me

mistakes I have made. Ask me whether

what I have done is my life. Others

have come in their slow way into

my thought, and some have tried to help

or to hurt — ask me what difference

their strongest love or hate has made.


I will listen to what you say.

You and I can turn and look

at the silent river and wait. We know

the current is there, hidden; and there

are comings and goings from miles away

that hold the stillness exactly before us.

What the river says, that is what I say.


(William Stafford, "Ask Me," from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems. Copyright (C) 1977, 1998 by the Estate of William Safford. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota.)

About the Author

William Stafford

Share, Print, or Explore

For more information contact

Find everything tagged: