William Stanley Merwin

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

My Friends - Poem by William Stanley Merwin

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My friends without shields walk on the target

It is late the windows are breaking

My friends without shoes leave
What they love
Grief moves among them as a fire among
Its bells
My friends without clocks turn
On the dial they turn
They part

My friends with names like gloves set out
Bare handed as they have lived
And nobody knows them
It is they that lay the wreaths at the milestones it is their
Cups that are found at the wells
And are then chained up

My friends without feet sit by the wall
Nodding to the lame orchestra
Brotherhood it says on the decorations
My friend without eyes sits in the rain smiling
With a nest of salt in his hand

My friends without fathers or houses hear
Doors opening in the darkness
Whose halls announce

Behold the smoke has come home

My friends and I have in common
The present a wax bell in a wax belfry
This message telling of
Metals this
Hunger for the sake of hunger this owl in the heart
And these hands one
For asking one for applause

My friends with nothing leave it behind
In a box
My friends without keys go out from the jails it is night
They take the same road they miss
Each other they invent the same banner in the dark
They ask their way only of sentries too proud to breathe

At dawn the stars on their flag will vanish

The water will turn up their footprints and the day will rise
Like a monument to my
Friends the forgotten


Comments about My Friends by William Stanley Merwin

  • Robert Murray Smith (10/1/2016 11:33:00 PM)


    A very powerful poem.

    As a poet who loves words you may like my A Hauntingly Beautiful Word.
    Robert
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  • Bharati Nayak (10/1/2016 7:12:00 PM)


    At dawn the stars on their flag will vanish

    The water will turn up their footprints and the day will rise
    Like a monument to my
    Friends the forgotten
    - - - - - - - - - - - -Perhaps the poet gives tribute to forgotten heroes of a war who lost every thing, legs, eyes or lives for the country or people.Now they are forgotten, but time will one day tell their stories.
    (Report) Reply

  • (10/1/2016 4:55:00 PM)

    My Friends.
    A different consideration of what kind of friends you
    can have. M.Walker.
    (Report) Reply

  • Mizzy ........ (10/1/2016 3:09:00 PM)


    Very heartfelt dedication......great write! (Report) Reply

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (10/1/2016 10:56:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem
    My friends without fathers or houses hear
    Doors opening in the darkness
    Whose halls announce
    Nice work.Thanks for sharing it with us.
    (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (10/1/2016 10:20:00 AM)


    This is such a touching piece of poetry. Thanks for sharing.Like to read again and again. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (10/1/2016 10:16:00 AM)


    This is such a touching piece of poetry. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (10/1/2016 5:52:00 AM)

    Friends
    Grief moves among them! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (10/1/2016 2:58:00 AM)


    A beautiful narrative of the attributes of friends, in general. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (5/18/2008 9:33:00 PM)


    At the line 'My friends with nothing leave it behind in a box, ' your poem captured me. (Report) Reply

Read all 10 comments »



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Read poems about / on: grief, rain, friend, water, fire, home, dark, night, rose, smile, star



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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