Contents | September 2003

More on poetry from The Atlantic Monthly.

The Atlantic Monthly | September 2003
To a Tortoiseshell Lyre

by W. S. Merwin
Do you know how beautiful you are
did you ever know such a thing

oh hollow cradle of light
large as an empty embrace
shape of old waves
and of supplication and offering
fashioned out of all
the ambers of memory

here at the center
at the deepest part
where your heart has been
the notes were plucked
once according to
a time of music
to accompany the singing
that someone claimed
would be here forever

here your heart began
as an echo
in answer to the sea
here once you heard
how the light came through it

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W. S. Merwin's most recent publications include a verse translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2002) and a poetry collection, The Pupil (2001).
Copyright © 2003 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; September 2003; To a Tortoiseshell Lyre; Volume 292, No. 2; 132.