Any Morning – William Stafford

Just lying on the couch and being happy.
Only humming a little, the quiet sound in the head.
Trouble is busy elsewhere at the moment, it has
so much to do in the world.

People who might judge are mostly asleep; they can’t
monitor you all the time, and sometimes they forget.
When dawn flows over the hedge you can
get up and act busy.

Little corners like this, pieces of Heaven
left lying around, can be picked up and saved.
People won’t even see that you have them,
they are so light and easy to hide.

Later in the day you can act like the others.
You can shake your head. You can frown.

Any Morning


Perhaps it’s these out-of -order summer days at the end of September, but this poem caught my attention for its simple, straightforward advice: just quietly being happy while trouble is busy somewhere else in the world.

Little corners like this, pieces of Heaven / left lying around, can be picked up and saved.
For me, swimming outdoors at every opportunity, feeling the cool water beneath me with the sun warming my head as my muscles draw me along, is a little piece of heaven. Or lying on the couch on the front porch, reading, bathing in the warm breezes, feeling happy. I do savour these moments, then pull them out in the cold days of winter to remember the feeling of weightlessness, effortlessness. And it’s true, no matter what little corners you save, they are your own, hidden from sight, from judgement, for your own pleasure.

The last two lines make me smile every time: you can act like the others. / You can shake your head. You can frown. Just the idea that I might hide my happiness from those who are grumpy while pretending to look busy makes me giggle, as if I’ve found something forbidden and delicious.

What little corners of heaven can you pick up and save, smiling quietly to yourself while acting busy in your everyday world, any morning?




8 thoughts on “Any Morning – William Stafford

  1. My cats are a piece of heaven. Thelma sleeps between my head and armpit while Louise sleeps on my two feet. Their unconditional love teaches me a lot. Thelma pokes me in the nose at 5:30am every morning for the start of her day. Little does she know if I didn’t have to feed her I might not get out of bed. GREAT POEM!!


  2. What a treat of a poem, Jan! It inspires me to look out at the multi-coloured leaves, listen to the zing of the cicadas, rejoice at being alive. Thank you! Love – Mary Lou


  3. Oh, Jan, this is just so beautiful in its simplicity. I think lately I’m being touched by simplicity of message. Last Sunday the poem in our bulletin was Mary Oliver’s Song of the Builder and the ending spoke to me in the same way that your William Stafford poem has.

    thank you, Margaret 613-725-6941 h 613-795-9879 c

    “The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”

    – Thich Nhat Hanh



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