Poem for a Thursday: WS Merwin

Last week’s Mary Oliver poem turned out to be prescient, as she sadly passed away that very day. I have no doubt that her finely crafted yet accessible poems began their legacy decades ago and while I’m sad she won’t be writing anymore, I look forward to seeing poets continuing to cite her influence.

This week’s poem is by WS Merwin, another American poet. His verse is simultaneously vast and particular, something I love. This poem paints a clear picture; I can imagine both the narrator and the scene. I had a hard time choosing a poem as the whole book was beautiful!

Long afternoon light

Small roads written in sleep in the foothills

how long ago and I believed you were lost

with the bronze then deepening in the light

and the shy moss turning to itself holding

its own brightness above the badger’s path

while a single crow sailed west without a sound

we trust without giving it a thought

that we will always see it as we see it

once and that what we know is only

a moment of what is ours and will stay

we believe it as the moment slips away

as lengthening shadows merge in the valley

and a window kindles there like a first star

what we see again comes to us in secret

And as a bonus, I have decided to be brave and share a draft of a poem I wrote a few years ago, because Merwin’s poem reminded me of it. As yet, it remains untitled.

A second ripples through

the honeyed light,

and when the tick hits

the stone boundary

suddenly, a hundred years

have been captured

like a bubble in amber.

Less than the blink

of an eye, and the fields

have flowered and lain fallow

fifty times over and the sheep

have given a hundred winters of wool.

2 thoughts on “Poem for a Thursday: WS Merwin”

  1. Oh, your poem is beautiful! I’ve read it three times in a row and I like it more every time. WS Merwin is new to me (as many poets are) and I will have to read some more of his poems.


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