Starting Here, What Do You Want to Remember? (William Stafford)

This came over our transom this morning via Ellen Silverman: a poem by William Stafford that immediately enlivened our day. She was given it by the teacher of a photography workshop she is taking. It tunes the self to seeing, and being more fully here.

We printed it out to tape on our wall. You can too, using this PDF: William Stafford Poem Starting Now


You Reading This, Be Ready


Starting here, what do you want to remember?

How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?

What scent of old wood hovers, what softened 

sound from outside fills the air?


Will you ever bring a better gift to the world

than the breathing respect that you carry

wherever you go right now? Are you waiting

for time to show you some better thoughts?


When you turn around, starting here, lift this

new glimpse that you found; carry into evening

all that you want from this day. This interval you spent

reading or hearing this, keep it for life —


What can anyone give you greater than now,

starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?



One Response to Starting Here, What Do You Want to Remember? (William Stafford)

  1. Joanne kalvaitis 10.15.2018 at 12:13pm #

    In this age of “do more, be more” this poem releases us to just be.

    Thank you

Leave A Comment

subscribing = loving

If the Improvised Life is a source of creativity, inspiration, ideas and change in your daily life, please consider becoming a Friend with Benefits. A little bit goes a long way towards helping us publish fresh AD-FREE content each day.