Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Tuesday Poem: W.S. Merwin - A Life in Poetry

W. S. Merwin is one of the most interesting of the older generation of American poets.  I'm fascinated by the way he uses phrasing and line breaks to do away with intrusive punctuation. 'Poetry,' he says, 'is about expressing something inexpressible'. Yet we go on trying. This is a wonderful video in which he talks about his life, his preoccupation with landscape and the imagination, and about his grief at what we are doing to the natural world. 'We are losing a species every 2 seconds.'   And unless 'nuts like us' try to do something about it, it will only get worse.  He quotes Thoreau, 'In wildness is the preservation of the world'.




I have Merwin's collection 'The Moon before Morning', poems of reflection on connections with place and our relationship with the natural world.   One of my favourites is 'Homecoming'.  This is how it ends:

". . .  and I looked up to the clear sky
and saw the new moon and at that
moment from behind me a band
of dark birds and then another
after it flying in silence
long curving wings hardly moving
the plovers just in from the sea
and the flight clear from Alaska
half their weight gone to get them home
but home now arriving without
a sound as it rose to meet them"

W.S Merwin 'The Moon Before Morning'.

5 comments:

  1. the world needs more human beings like W.S.Merwin

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  2. Glad you liked it Sandra - he is wonderful! Yes Neil, the world does. Just wish I knew where they were.

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  3. Thank you Kathy. The poem the video the man the wisdom...a precious gift...something we can all access if we can only remember to do so.

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  4. Hi Kathleen- have just read The Lost Girl and find intriguing those who wish to link Alvina Houghton w/ KM- for example:
    KATHERINE MANSFIELD AMONG THE
    MODERNS: HER IMPACT ON VIRGINIA
    WOOLF, D. H. LAWRENCE, AND ALDOUS
    HUXLEY
    Nicola Anne Tarrant-Hoskin
    as well as Sandra Jobson Darroch in Rananim.
    I find it all a bit unconvincing- what do you think? Would love to know. Hope you are well- long time since I left you a note- a big admirer of your KM work, as I have said before. Of course there are glimpses of KM in the novel....
    Darren.

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