You are far away

by Wolf Pascoe on October 6, 2010


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 and
your real mother died
without ever telling the story
then no one knows your name,
and somewhere in the world
your father is lost and needs you
but you are far away.
He can never find
how true you are, how ready.
When the great wind comes
and the robberies of the rain
you stand on the corner shivering.
The people who go by —
you wonder at their calm.
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.”

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.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Doug October 6, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Thank you for admitting the smart thing. It instantly brings to mind all the places I am trying to be smart (and failing) in my life, in my parenting, in my marriage, etc. The truth will set us free (it just might hurt a bit though).


Wolf Pascoe October 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Anyone can write. Just sit down and open a vein. (Red Smith, I think.)


DragonflyMath July 6, 2013 at 10:29 am

The words get caught at the end of my fingers and I can’t loose them to sprinkle onto the page. Smearing only muddies what I want to say.

Then, abracadabra, here they are in your wonderful blog.



Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: