A rivulet, a stream, a river...a deluge
Advice from a Raindrop
You think you’re too small
to make a difference? Tell me
about it. You think you’re
helpless, at the mercy of forces
beyond your control? Been there.
Think you’re doomed to disappear,
just one small voice among millions?
That’s no weakness, trust me. That’s
your wild card, your trick, your
implement. They won’t see you coming
until you’re there, in their faces, shining,
festive, expendable, eternal. Sure you’re
small, just one small part of a storm that
changes everything. That’s how you win,
my friend, again and again and again.
[Kim Stafford, "Advice from a Raindrop" from Singer Come From Afar.
Copyright © 2021 by Kim Stafford.]
As this summer’s severe drought gave way to drenching autumn rains, I had reason to recall this poem by Kim Stafford because it speaks to me, obliquely, of the sacred ritual called “voting” in which so many of us will engage come election day in November. The stakes for our nation and our world are enormous and fraught and it feels all too easy to believe that our single vote cannot possibly have significance.
As flawed and imperfect as our electoral system may be, it remains our best chance to bring about meaningful change in our nation and we would do well to think of our opportunity to cast a vote as a sacred one. Responsible voting requires self-education about the candidates and the issues posed in ballot questions and initiatives.
If your approaching this election cycle with dread or simply with dispiriting resignation, read this poem over a few more times. Then imagine yourself a drop that coalesces with others to form a rivulet, a stream, a river, a deluge that can trigger meaningful change.
As Theodore Herzl famously said, “If you will it, it is no dream.”