“For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid” by William Stafford

There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot—air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That’s the world, and we all live there.

“For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid” by William Stafford from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems. © Graywolf Press, 1998.

4 thoughts on ““For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid” by William Stafford

  1. Brian Dean Powers

    The challenge is to figure out how much fear is warranted by the current situation, and how much is excessive. As Stafford put it: “I want to be as afraid as the teeth are big….”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s true, and the challenge is real and different for every person and sentient being. Like Jerome says below too it’s a matter of perspective.
      As fear can be self-protective, I wonder if it’s better to be too scared or not scared enough?


  2. Jerome Joseph

    It’s a matter of perspective, is it not?

    “My, what big teeth you have, Grandmother!”

    and the consequences:

    …All the better to EAT you with, my dear!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It most definitely is, Jerome! Depends on if you are the prey or they preyed upon. I think fear by and large can be a good thing if it keeps you alive, but not if it paralyzes you like a deer in the headlights of an approaching semi.


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