Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saturday Night Poet: W.S. Merwin

I am blogging from the mountain again, staying with dear friends (parents of one of my best friend, to be precise), in what I like to call my "Little Cabin in the Woods." You know, like Laura Ingalls Wilder, but like, not on the prarie. And just like last time, I have a few observations.

Nature is relaxing, and brings out the best in you. French Dandy Dude and I resolved our problems six weeks ago, and are now very good friend to each other, and getting along splendidly. He was put on probation for a while after ditching me in Big Metropolis for some girl who he thought could be the love of his life (but they are ALL potentially that girl, so this is why I plan our vacations now and always have a backup $20 and won't consent to go out to big group events and refuse to hang out with his pretentious friends). But he's passed the period of probation by being uber-nice to me, cooking for me in my thesis hell, being super considerate, and much less sarcastic, and more openly affectionate. When you are platonic friends, there is only one rule, and so there should be no reservations with love or kindness. There's a geriatric level of comfort with each other, a kind of sexless marriage. So he's passed his period of probation, for the most part. Well, to the point where I let him meet my cool friends and come with me on my working holidays. He behaves himself, doesn't (can't) ditch me for anything or anyone, and generally goes along with whatever is mutually decided. We both compromise. We are better. We are the best of friends, finally.

That said, the ultimate test is whether I ever again go on a vacation in which he organizes, and in which I depend on him, and in which I know no one but him and must try to get along with his friends. That'll be the day. I'm going to have to be a bitch and say "we'll see."

But today and yesterday were very nice: hiking, sight-seeing, state park exploring, and a bit of reading. Nothing else much to do in the mountains. It is great. There are so many natural wonders that I never before saw, I feel quite relaxed and refreshed, ready to type until my fingertips are raw and read until I cry.

That said, I will still take poetry breaks. So before this Saturday ends, here is the Saturday Poet: W.S. Merwin.

For The Anniversary Of My Death

Every year without knowing it
I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveller
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

Unknown Bird

Out of the dry days
through the dusty leaves
far across the valley
those few notes never
heard here before

one fluted phrase
floating over its
wandering secret
all at once wells up
somewhere else

and is gone before it
goes on fallen into
its own echo leaving
a hollow through the air
that is dry as before

where is it from
hardly anyone
seems to have noticed it
so far but who now
would have been listening

it is not native here
that may be the one
thing we are sure of
it came from somewhere
else perhaps alone

so keeps on calling for
no one who is here
hoping to be heard
by another of its own
unlikely origin

trying once more the same few
notes that began the song
of an oriole last heard
years ago in another
existence there

it goes again tell
no one it is here
foreign as we are
who are filling the days
with a sound of our own

It Is March

It is March and black dust falls out of the books
Soon I will be gone
The tall spirit who lodged here has
Left already
On the avenues the colorless thread lies under
Old prices

When you look back there is always the past
Even when it has vanished
But when you look forward
With your dirty knuckles and the wingless
Bird on your shoulder
What can you write

The bitterness is still rising in the old mines
The fist is coming out of the egg
The thermometers out of the mouths of the corpses

At a certain height
The tails of the kites for a moment are
Covered with footsteps

Whatever I have to do has not yet begun


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