William Stanley Merwin

(September 30, 1927 / New York / United States)

A Codex Poem by William Stanley Merwin


It was a late book given up for lost
again and again with its sentences

bare at last and phrases that seemed transparent
revealing what had been there the whole way

the poems of daylight after the day
lying open at last on the table

without explanation or emphasis
like sounds left when the syllables have gone

clarifying the whole grammar of waiting
not removing one question from the air

or closing the story although single lights
were beginning by then above and below

while the long twilight deepened its silence
from sapphire through opal to Athena’s iris

until shadow covered the gray pages
the comet words the book of presences

after which there was little left to say
but then it was night and everything was known

From 'The Shadow Of Sirius'
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press (September 1, 2008)

Submitted: Monday, May 09, 2011
Edited: Monday, May 09, 2011

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