m_topn picture

A P R I L   1 9 9 7

m_rub_po picture
3pohed picture
by W. S. Merwin




audioear picture Hear W. S. Merwin read "Another River" (requires the RealAudio RealPlayer).

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

Also by W. S. Merwin:
Unknown Bird (1999)
Term (1999)
Any Time (1999)
Before the Flood (1998)
Shore Birds (1998)
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.


Return to:
An Audible Anthology
Poetry Pages

ANOTHER RIVER

The friends have gone home far up the valley
of that river into whose estuary
the man from England sailed in his own age
in time to catch sight of the late forests
furring in black the remotest edges
of the majestic water always it
appeared to me that he arrived just as
an evening was beginning and toward the end
of summer when the converging surface
lay as a single vast mirror gazing
upward into the pearl light that was
already stained with the first saffron
of sunset on which the high wavering trails
of migrant birds flowed southward as though there were
no end to them the wind had dropped and the tide
and the current for a moment seemed to hang
still in balance and the creaking and knocking
of wood stopped all at once and the known voices
died away and the smells and rocking
and starvation of the voyage had become
a sleep behind them as they lay becalmed
on the reflection of their Half Moon
while the sky blazed and then the tide lifted them
up the dark passage they had no name for




audioear picture Hear W. S. Merwin read "Echoing Light" (requires the RealAudio RealPlayer).

ECHOING LIGHT

When I was beginning to read I imagined
that bridges had something to do with birds
and with what seemed to be cages but I knew
that they were not cages it must have been autumn
with the dusty light flashing from the streetcar wires
and those orange places on fire in the pictures
and now indeed it is autumn the clear
days not far from the sea with a small wind nosing
over dry grass that yesterday was green
the empty corn standing trembling and a down
of ghost flowers veiling the ignored fields
and everywhere the colors I cannot take
my eyes from all of them red even the wide streams
red it is the season of migrants
flying at night feeling the turning earth
beneath them and I woke in the city hearing
the call notes of the plover then again and
again before I slept and here far downriver
flocking together echoing close to the shore
the longest bridges have opened their slender wings




audioear picture Hear W. S. Merwin read "Remembering" (requires the RealAudio RealPlayer).

REMEMBERING

There are threads of old sound heard over and over
phrases of Shakespeare or Mozart the slender
wands of the auroras playing out from them
into dark time the passing of a few
migrants high in the night far from the ancient flocks
far from the rest of the words far from the instruments



Copyright© 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; April 1997; Three Poems; Volume 279, No. 4; page 103.

m_nv_cv picture m_nv_un picture m_nv_am picture m_nv_pr picture m_nv_as picture m_nv_se picture