Thomas Doty – Storyteller

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For William Stafford
by Kimberley King

Every time I read something by William Stafford I am reminded of his quiet presence and his infinite capacity for listening. I took exactly one class from him, over 20 years ago, and I have been surprised to find what a deep and lasting impression he made on me.

A gentle, quiet-spoken man
As a teacher
He seemed to wholly possess
the quality of attention.
It wasn't so much he didn't talk
but even his talking seemed to listen.
At nineteen,
I had plenty to say --
I'd just learned to speak
and wasn't ready yet
for hearing.
But somewhere deep in the ear
I heard
and planted, long dormant,
the seeds of resolve
to someday enter that quiet space
where the ear speaks
and the tongue listens.