W. S. Merwin Quotes (displaying: 1 - 25 of 25 quotes)
Inside this pencil crouch words that have never been written never been spoken never been taught they’re hiding they’re awake in there dark in the dark hearing us but they won’t come out not for love not for time not for fire even when the dark has worn away they’ll still be there hiding in the air multitudes in days to come may walk through them breathe them be none the wiser what script can it be that they won’t unroll in what language would I recognize it would I be able to follow it to make out the real names of everything maybe there aren’t many it could be that there’s only one word and it’s all we need it’s here in this pencil every pencil in the world is like this
A BIRTHDAY Something continues and I don't know what to call itthough the language is full of suggestionsin the way of languagebut they are all anonymousand it's almost your birthday music next to my bonesthese nights we hear the horses running in the rainit stops and the moon comes out and we are still herethe leaks in the roof go on dripping after the rain has passedsmell of ginger flowers slips through the dark housedown near the sea the slow heart of the beacon flashesthe long way to you is still tied to me but it brought me to you. I keep wanting to give you what is already yoursit is the morning of the mornings togetherbreath of summer oh my found onethe sleep in the same current and each waking to youwhen I open my eyes you are what I wanted to see.
Obviously a garden is not the wilderness but an assembly of shapes, most of them living, that owes some share of its composition, it’s appearance, to human design and effort, human conventions and convenience, and the human pursuit of that elusive, indefinable harmony that we call beauty. It has a life of its own, an intricate, willful, secret life, as any gardener knows. It is only the humans in it who think of it as a garden. But a garden is a relationship, which is one of the countless reasons why it is never finished.
We begin to say something that cannot be said. When you see on the front page a woman in Iraq who's just seen her husband blown up, you see her there, her mouth wide open, you know the sound coming out of her, a howl of grief and pain -- that's the beginning of language. Trying to express that, it's inexpressible, and poetry is really to say what can't be said. And that's why people turn to it in these moments. They don't know how to say this, [but] part of them feels that maybe a poem will say it. It won't say it, but it'll come closer to saying it than anything else will. I think there are always two sides, and one of them is the unsayable. The utterly singular. Who you are; who you can never tell anybody. And on the other hand, there is what you can express. How do we know about this thing we talk about? Because we talk about it. We're using words. And the words never say it, but the words are all we have to say it.
For a Coming Extinction. Gray whale. Now that we are sending 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 word to theirs. Tell him. That it is we who are important