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Best Famous W S Merwin Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous W S Merwin poems. This is a select list of the best famous W S Merwin poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous W S Merwin poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of W S Merwin poems.

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Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

The Ships Are Made Ready In Silence

 Moored to the same ring:
The hour, the darkness and I,
Our compasses hooded like falcons.
Now the memory of you comes aching in With a wash of broken bits which never left port In which once we planned voyages, They come knocking like hearts asking: What departures on this tide? Breath of land, warm breath, You tighten the cold around the navel, Though all shores but the first have been foreign, And the first was not home until left behind.
Our choice is ours but we have not made it, Containing as it does, our destination Circled with loss as with coral, and A destination only until attained.
I have left you my hope to remember me by, Though now there is little resemblance.
At this moment I could believe in no change, The mast perpetually Vacillating between the same constellations, The night never withdrawing its dark virtue >From the harbor shaped as a heart, The sea pulsing as a heart, The sky vaulted as a heart, Where I know the light will shatter like a cry Above a discovery: "Emptiness.
Emptiness! Look!" Look.
This is the morning.
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

Green Fields

 By this part of the century few are left who believe
 in the animals for they are not there in the carved parts
of them served on plates and the pleas from the slatted trucks
 are sounds of shadows that possess no future
there is still game for the pleasure of killing
 and there are pets for the children but the lives that followed
courses of their own other than ours and older
 have been migrating before us some are already
far on the way and yet Peter with his gaunt cheeks
 and point of white beard the face of an aged Lawrence
Peter who had lived on from another time and country
 and who had seen so many things set out and vanish
still believed in heaven and said he had never once
 doubted it since his childhood on the farm in the days
of the horses he had not doubted it in the worst
 times of the Great War and afterward and he had come
to what he took to be a kind of earthly
 model of it as he wandered south in his sixties
by that time speaking the language well enough
 for them to make him out he took the smallest roads
into a world he thought was a thing of the past
 with wildflowers he scarcely remembered and neighbors
working together scything the morning meadows
 turning the hay before the noon meal bringing it in
by milking time husbandry and abundance
 all the virtues he admired and their reward bounteous
in the eyes of a foreigner and there he remained
 for the rest of his days seeing what he wanted to see
until the winter when he could no longer fork
 the earth in his garden and then he gave away
his house land everything and committed himself
 to a home to die in an old chateau where he lingered
for some time surrounded by those who had lost
 the use of body or mind and as he lay there he told me
that the wall by his bed opened almost every day
 and he saw what was really there and it was eternal life
as he recognized at once when he saw the gardens
 he had made and the green fields where he had been
a child and his mother was standing there then the wall would close
 and around him again were the last days of the world
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

We continue

For Galway Kinnell


The rust a little pile of western color lies
At the end of its travels 
Our instrument no longer.
Those who believe In death have their worship cut out for them.
As for myself we Continue An old Scar of light our trumpet Pilgrims with thorns To the eye of the cold Under flags made by the blind In one fist Their letter that vanishes If the hand opens: Charity come home Begin.
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

A Door

This is a place where a door might be
here where I am standing
In the light outside all the walls

there would be a shadow here
all day long
and a door into it
where now there is me

and somebody would come and knock
on this air
long after I have gone
and there in front of me a life
would open
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

For the Anniversary of My Death

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star
Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And then shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

My Friends

 My friends without shields walk on the target

It is late the windows are breaking

My friends without shoes leave
What they love
Grief moves among them as a fire among
Its bells
My friends without clocks turn
On the dial they turn
They part

My friends with names like gloves set out
Bare handed as they have lived
And nobody knows them
It is they that lay the wreaths at the milestones it is their
Cups that are found at the wells
And are then chained up

My friends without feet sit by the wall
Nodding to the lame orchestra
Brotherhood it says on the decorations
My friend without eyes sits in the rain smiling
With a nest of salt in his hand

My friends without fathers or houses hear
Doors opening in the darkness
Whose halls announce

Behold the smoke has come home

My friends and I have in common
The present a wax bell in a wax belfry
This message telling of
Metals this
Hunger for the sake of hunger this owl in the heart
And these hands one
For asking one for applause

My friends with nothing leave it behind
In a box
My friends without keys go out from the jails it is night
They take the same road they miss
Each other they invent the same banner in the dark
They ask their way only of sentries too proud to breathe

At dawn the stars on their flag will vanish

The water will turn up their footprints and the day will rise
Like a monument to my
Friends the forgotten
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

Do Not Die

In each world they may put us
Farther apart
Do not die
As this world is made I might
Live forever
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

For A Coming Extinction

 Gray whale
Now that we are sinding you to The End
That great god
Tell him
That we who follow you invented forgiveness
And forgive nothing

I write as though you could understand
And I could say it
One must always pretend something
Among the dying
When you have left the seas nodding on their stalks
Empty of you
Tell him that we were made
On another day

The bewilderment will diminish like an echo
Winding along your inner mountains
Unheard by us
And find its way out
Leaving behind it the future
Dead
And ours

When you will not see again
The whale calves trying the light
Consider what you will find in the black garden
And its court
The sea cows the Great Auks the gorillas
The irreplaceable hosts ranged countless
And fore-ordaining as stars
Our sacrifices
Join your work to theirs
Tell him
That it is we who are important
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

Animula

Look soul
soul
barefoot presence
through whom blood falls as though
a water clock
and tears rise before they wake
I will take you

at last to
where the wind stops
by the river we
know
by that same water
and the nights are not separate
remember
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

Death Hand

Temptations still nest in it like basilisks.
Hang it up till the rings fall.
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

The Source

 The sleep that flits on baby's eyes-does anybody know from where
it comes? Yes, there is a rumour that it has its dwelling where,
in the fairy village among shadows of the forest dimly lit with
glow-worms, there hang two shy buds of enchantment.
From there it comes to kiss baby's eyes.
The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps-does anybody know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumour that a young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born in the dream of a dew washed morning-the smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps.
The sweet, soft freshness hat blooms on baby's limbs-does anybody know where it was hidden so long? Yes, when the mother was a young girl it lay pervading her heart in tender and silent mystery of love-the sweet, soft freshness that has bloomed on baby's limbs.
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

Unknown Bird

 Out of the dry days
through the dusty leaves
far across the valley
those few notes never
heard here before

one fluted phrase
floating over its
wandering secret
all at once wells up
somewhere else

and is gone before it
goes on fallen into
its own echo leaving
a hollow through the air
that is dry as before

where is it from
hardly anyone
seems to have noticed it
so far but who now
would have been listening

it is not native here
that may be the one
thing we are sure of
it came from somewhere
else perhaps alone

so keeps on calling for
no one who is here
hoping to be heard
by another of its own
unlikely origin

trying once more the same few
notes that began the song
of an oriole last heard
years ago in another
existence there

it goes again tell
no one it is here
foreign as we are
who are filling the days
with a sound of our own
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

Son

As the shadow closed on the face once my father's
Three times learning forward far off she called
Good night in a whisper from before I was born
later through the burial a wren went on singing

then it was that I left for the coast to live
a single long mountain close to the shore
from it the sun rose and everyone there asked me
who I was I asked them who they were

at that time I found the cave under the mountain
drawings still on the walls carved fragments in the dirt
all my days I spent there groping in the floor

but some who came from nearby were wrecking the place for a game
garbage through holes overhead broken cars dead animals
in the evenings they rolled huge rocks down to smash the roof
nothing that I could do kept them from it for long

the old story the old story

and in the morning the cave full of new daylight
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

A Family

Would you believe me
if I told you the name of the farmers
at the end of the lake
where it grew shallow over the mossy rocks
and if you came in the morning the grass was blue
the fur of the rocks was wet the small frogs jumped
and the lake was silent behind you
except for echoes

you tied your boat carefully to a tree
before setting out across the cool pasture
watching for the bull
all the way to the barn

or if you came in the afternoon
the pasture glared and hummed the dark leaves smelled
from beside the water and the barn was drunk
by the time you got to it

to climb on the beams
to dive into the distant hay
will you believe
the names of the farmers' children
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

Air

Naturally it is night.
Under the overturned lute with its One string I am going my way Which has a strange sound.
This way the dust that way the dust.
I listen to both sides But I keep right on.
I remember the leaves sitting in judgment And then winter.
I remember the rain with its bundles of roads.
The rain taking all its roads.
Nowhere.
Young as I am old as I am I forget tomorrow the blind man.
I forget the life among the buried windows.
The eyes in the curtains.
The wall Growing through the immortelles.
I forget silence The owner of the smile.
This must be what I wanted to be doing Walking at night between the two deserts Singing.