Once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold, found some limit beyond the waterfall, a season changes and we come back changed but safe, quiet, grateful.

— William Stafford

The most breathtaking William Stafford quotes that are easy to memorize and remember

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music.

52

I embrace emerging experience, I participate in discovery.

I am a butterfly. I am not a butterfly collector. I want the experience of the butterfly.

50

Everyone is born a poet - a person discovering the way words sound and work, caring and delighting in words. I just kept on doing what everyone starts out doing. The real question is: Why did other people stop?

34

I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.

34

There is no such thing as writer's block for writers whose standards are low enough.

29

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.

21

Anyone who breathes is in the rhythm business.

17

If you purify the pond, the lilies die

14

Let the bucket of memory down into the well, bring it up.

Cool, cool minutes. No one stirring, no plans. Just being there.

12

The more you let yourself be distracted from where you are going, the more you are the person that you are. It's not so much like getting lost as it is like getting found.

9

The ocean and I have many pebbles To find and wash off and roll into shape.

7

When the snake decided to go straight, he didn't get anywhere.

7

About William Stafford

Quotes 68 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Poet
Birthday October 16

The earth says have a place, be what that place requires;

hear the sound the birds imply and see as deep as ridges go behind each other.

5

The greatest ownership of all is to glance around and understand.

5

Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean.

4

Literature is not a picture of life, but is a separate experience with its own kind of flow and enhancement.

3

Others may be able to accept standards from another, but an artist is a person who decides.

3

All still when summer is over stand shocks in the field, nothing left to whisper, not even good-bye, to the wind. After summer was over we knew winter would come: we knew silence would wait, tall, patient calm.

3

Once you decide to do right, life is easy, there are no distractions.

3

An owl sound wandered along the road with me. I didn't hear it--I breathed it into my ears.

2

You can treat experience as a set of surprises on which to exercise your quirky self.

1

Keep a journal, and don't assume that your work has to accomplish anything worthy: artists and peace-workers are in it for the long haul, and not to be judged by immediate results.

1

Security of character would be like a compass, you know? Other people may say that this way is north, or this way might be north. But the compass just says -- north. That's what we count on.

0

What you have to do as a writer is . . . write day in and day out no matter what happens.

0

You were aimed from birth: you will never be alone... The whole wide world pours down.

0

So, the world happens twice-- once what we see it as; second it legends itself deep, the way it is.

0

A poem is a serious joke, a truth that has learned jujitsu.

0

I heard a bird congratulating itself all day for being a jay.

Nobody cared. But it was glad all over again, and said so, again.

0

You can lie at a banquet but you have to be honest in the kitchen.

0

If you can say it, it begins to exist.

0

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.

0

I have this feeling of wending my way or plundering through a mysterious jungle of possibilities when I am writing. This jungle has not been explored by previous writers. It never will be explored. It's endlessly varying as we progress through the experience of time. These words that occur to me come out of my relation to the language which is developing even as I am using it.

0

Can injustice one way be corrected without the interim reaction that tries to impose injustice the other way?

0

Please think about this as you go on.

Breathe on the world. Hold out your hands to it. When morning and evenings roll along, watch how they open and close, how they invite you to the long party that your life is.

0

The things you do not have to say make you rich.

Saying things you do not have to say weakens your talk. Hearing things you do not need to hear dulls your hearing. And things you know before you hear them — those are you, those are why you are in the world.

0

You don't need many words if you already know what you're talking about

0

And the things you know before you hear them; these are you and the reason you are in the world.

0

The Way It Is 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. ~ William Stafford ~

0

They miss the whisper that runs any day in your mind, "Who are you really, wanderer?"-- and the answer you have to give no matter how dark and cold the world around you is: "Maybe I'm a king.

0

When a goat likes a book, the whole book is gone, and the meaning has to go find an author again.

0

Some people are blinded by their experience.

Soldiers know how important war is. Owners of slaves learn every day how inferior subject peoples are.

0

I have a feeling that art is something you do for yourself, and that any time you turn your decisions over to someone else you're postponing at best, your own development. The atmosphere of the workshop should be that of trying out one's own work and accepting the signals from others but not accepting the dictation of others because that is a violation of the spirit of art. Art can't be done by somebody else, it has got to be done by the artist.

0

There are so many things admirable people do not understand.

0

It is this impulse to change the quality of experience that I recognize as central to creation. . . . Out of all that could be done, you choose one thing. What that one thing is, nothing else can tell you--you come at it over unmarked snow.

0

One way to find your place is like the rain, a million requests for lodging, one that wins, finds your cheek: you find your home.

0

It is as if the ordinary language we use every day has a hidden set of signals, a kind of secret code.

0

I keep following this sort of hidden river of my life, you know, whatever the topic or impulse which comes, I follow it along trustingly. And I don't have any sense of its coming to a kind of crescendo, or of its petering out either. It is just going steadily along.

0

A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.

0

When you allow me to live with you, every glance at the world around you will be a sort of salvation.

0
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