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M A Y   1 9 9 9

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TERM

by W. S. Merwin

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Also by W. S. Merwin:
Unknown Bird (1999)
Any Time (1999)
Before the Flood (1998)
Shore Birds (1998)
Three Poems (1997)
Green Fields (1995)
Three French Poems (1994)


From Atlantic Unbound:

Swimming Up into Poetry, by Peter Davison (August 28, 1997)
The Atlantic's poetry editor reflects on the career of W. S. Merwin.


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At the last minute a word is waiting
not heard that way before and not to be
repeated or ever be remembered
one that always had been a household word
used in speaking of the ordinary
everyday recurrences of living
not newly chosen or long considered
or a matter for comment afterward
who would ever have thought it was the one
saying itself from the beginning through
all its uses and circumstances to
utter at last that meaning of its own
for which it had long been the only word
though it seems now that any word would do










W. S. Merwin has won many awards for his poetry, including the 1998 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. His The Folding Cliffs, an epic poem, was published last year.

Copyright © 1999 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; May 1999; Term; Volume 283, No. 5; page 88.

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