Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

W.S. Merwin: To the New Year

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible


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

W.S. Merwin (September 30, 1927 – March 15, 2019) was an American poet who wrote more than fifty books of poetry and prose, and produced many works in translation. During the 1960s anti-war movement, Merwin’s unique craft was thematically characterized by indirect, unpunctuated narration. In the 1980s and 1990s, his writing influence derived from an interest in Buddhist philosophy and deep ecology. Residing in a rural part of Maui, Hawaii, he wrote prolifically and was dedicated to the restoration of the island’s rainforests. Merwin received many honors, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1971 and 2009; the National Book Award for Poetry in 2005, and the Tanning Prize—one of the highest honors bestowed by the Academy of American Poets—as well as the Golden Wreath of the Struga Poetry Evenings. In 2010, the Library of Congress named him the 17th United States Poet Laureate.

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This entry was posted on January 1, 2021 by in Environmentalism, Opinion Leaders, Poetry, spirituality and tagged , .

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