I posted a piece about Darth Vader the entry before last. Then, after I posted it, it occurred to me it wasn’t done. So I edited it. Now, I want to answer it with the poem of William Stafford’s below. The poem covers similar ground in a subtle way.
Nick is the little boy in the poem. So am I.
So are you.
I like the poem for a lot of reasons. I like it because it speaks in a gentle voice to sons and fathers, and maybe daughters. It explains a lot without explaining anything. It turns emptiness into possibility. It claims nothing and it claims everything.
But mainly I like it because it tells me I’m not the only one who grew up wanting someone to stick up for me.
A Story That Could Be True
If you were exchanged in the cradle andyour real mother diedwithout ever telling the storythen no one knows your name,and somewhere in the worldyour father is lost and needs youbut you are far away.He can never findhow true you are, how ready.When the great wind comesand the robberies of the rainyou stand on the corner shivering.The people who go by —you wonder at their calm.They miss the whisper that runsany day in your mind,“Who are you really, wanderer?”and the answer you have to giveno matter how dark and coldthe world around you is:“Maybe I’m a king.”
— William Stafford
“A Story That Could Be True” copyright 1977, 1998 by the Estate of William Stafford. Reprented from The Way It is: New & Selected Poems, Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota. Used by permission.