Sunday, July 29, 2007

To the Words

During Em's last visit, I was entrusted with purchased Galway Kinnell's new book. However, I balked at paying $26 for a very slender hardbound book of poems. One that would barely last us an hour or two of candlelight and pipe smoke. So instead I found Present Company by W.S. Merwin, another of the poetic greats of our time. We spent a lovely evening creating wax art on my back stoop, listening to Peter's mesmerizing reading voice, and passing around the pipa.

To the Words

When it happens you are not there

O you beyond numbers
beyond recollection
passed on from breath to breath
given again
from day to day from age
to age
charged with knowledge
knowing nothing

indifferent elders
indispensable and sleepless

Keepers of our names
before ever we came
to be called by them

you that were
formed to begin with
you that were cried out
you that were spoken
to begin with
to say what could not be said

ancient precious
and helpless ones

say it

To a Departing Companion

Only now
I see that you
are the end of spring
cloud passing
across the hollow
of the empty bowl
not making a sound
and the dew is still here

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