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Ask Me

Last night, I read, more like re-read, the first two chapters of Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer. I find it so interesting to read something for a second, third, or fourth time. I always discover something new in the process. It might only be a word, a sentence, a turn of phrase, but it provides new insight. As I read last night, it was no different. Parker included this poem by William Stafford. I had to read several times, because the words are not in perfect order, but life is not either.

Parker Palmer is on Facebook and I follow him. Today, he posted a July 4th tribute with Leonard Cohen performing Democracy on Youtube. The link is Parker Palmer for those interested.

I am in Spokane and somewhat settled in. As I struggle a bit with making sense of my dissertation topic, this poem makes perfect sense. It is precise and piercing in its questions and somewhat disquieting. In those moments of perturbation, life makes more sense and I learn.

Sometimes when the river is ice ask me

mistakes I have made. Ask me whether

what I have done is my life. Others

have come in their slow way into

my thought, and some have tried to help

or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say

You and I can turn and look

at the silent river and wait. We know

is there, hidden; and there

are comings and goings from miles away

that hold the stillness exactly before us.

What the river says, that is what I say.

About ivonprefontaine

I have been an educator for almost 20 years. Prior to that, I worked in private industry for 15 years, then returned to university to earn my education degree. For the past 11 years, I have been a co-creator of learning in a unique, progressive, alternative educational school of choice. Currently, I am engaged in a doctoral program at Gonzaga University in Spokane. A main theme in my learning there has been the roles of systems thinking, complexity theory, and organizational theory, and how they apply to education generally and the learning environment I share with students, parents, and colleagues.

17 responses »

  1. Nice, reflective piece. Thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
  2. It’s beautiful Ivon. I trust all will be exactly as it must in regards to your dissertation.

    I too love to re-read books, and like you always get something more and different each time.

    Glad you’re feeling settled.

    Sheri

    Reply
  3. Thank you – my best wishes for the work ahead. Expect a transformation.

    Reply
  4. What the river says, that is what I say – I like that line a lot, and the opening idea of it being ice.

    Reply
  5. “In these moments of perturbation, life makes more sense, and I learn”..Your words carried me to a place of truth.

    Reply
  6. I needed that right now! Thank you so much for posting this. You have no idea how much those words spoke to me today.

    Reply
  7. Ivon – I received an email from Ivon which he would like me to send to you, but I don’t have your email address..

    Reply

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