Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

W.S. Merwin: Shore Birds

While I think of them they are growing rare
after the distances they have followed
all the way to the end for the first time
tracing a memory they did not have
until they set out to remember it
at an hour when all at once it was late
and newly silent and the white had turned
white around them then they rose in their choir
on a single note each of them alone
between the pull of the moon and the hummed
undertone of the earth below them
the glass curtains kept falling around them
as they flew in search of their place before
they were anywhere and storms winnowed them
they flew among the places with towers
and passed the tower lights where some vanished
with their long legs for wading in shadow
others were caught and stayed in the countries
of the nets and in the lands of lime twigs
some fastened and after the countries of
guns at first light fewer of them than I
remember would be here to recognize
the light of late summer when they found it
playing with darkness along the wet sand


From Migration: New and Selected Poems by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon, 2007). Included in Vox Populi for educational use only.

One comment on “W.S. Merwin: Shore Birds

  1. Leslie
    May 18, 2020

    Lovely. Must read more Merwin

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on May 17, 2020 by in Environmentalism, Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , .

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