Monday, January 16, 2012

by W. S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is


james said...

oh i give thanks for this,i do!! he's one of my favorites, maggie, and this is the first time i've seen this piece.

Maggie said...

Just fell right in love with it first time I read it. Merwin always gives me the most unexpected gifts.

Don't we do so many thank yous? Indeed.

Glad you like, it, jim. How are you, friend?

LKD said...

Dark though it is.

The last four words ring out like a dog's howl in the middle of the night. Or an lone owl, hooting and hooting.

Dark though it is.

The poem will stay with me for a long time.

But those 4 words? I feel like they're tattooed inside my skin.

I can see why you like him, Jim.

His voice is a lot like yours. Unblinking, unforgiving, unwavering.

Thanks for this, Maggie.

It feels like a gift found deep in the woods. The skull of an unidentified animal.

Maggie said...

I had not read much Merwin until the last 5 years or so.

When I read this one, I knew why I would return to him again and again.

I like the idea, Laurel, of Dark Though It Is in tattoo form. Though I think I'll never have a tattoo, the words do just soak into your skin.

Deep in the woods. Wish I could make myself go deep into the woods, but I am riddled with anxiety when I am not near "civilization": aka, a hospital. Like hospitals are anywhere I want to be. I am just as frightened of a hospital as I am of being out in the woods.

Panic disorder robs one of so much.

And then, there are always the horror stories, and in these parts, they are too frequent.

The remains of a man, who has been missing since July, were discovered on Monday just outside the city limits in a wooded area by a hunter. Just as the remains of a 19 yr old girl who went missing about 1 1/2 yrs ago, were found by a hunter in a wooded area within just a few miles of her home.

I am afraid to walk these woods.