A painter and a poet. Martin and Stafford have been (and continue to be) elemental influences on me.


Agnes Martin (Photo: Charles R. Rushton)

To discover the conscious mind in a world where intellect is held to be valuable requires solitude, quite a lot of solitude. We have been very strenuously conditioned against solitude. To be alone is considered to be a grievous and dangerous condition.

So I beg you to recall in detail any times when you were alone. You will find the fear that we have been taught is not one fear, but many different fears. When you discover what they are they will be overcome. Most people have never been alone enough to feel these fears. But even without the experience of them they dread them.

–Agnes Martin


William Stafford

For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid

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.

–William Stafford