On A Ritual to Read to Each Other
Text by William Stafford*
Music by Sora Jederan-Shpack
Finale Midi Version
Stanza I[audio:On A Rit Stanza I.mp3]
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.
[audio:On A Rit Stanza II.mp3]
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.
Stanza III[audio:On A Rit Stanza III.mp3]
And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
[audio:On A Rit Stanza IV.mp3]
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
[audio:On A Rit Stanza V.mp3]
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
* Permission for use of text requested and received 2009