Today is W.S. Merwin’s birthday. JB first introduced his words to me many, many years ago— evocative, simple, intimate, unpunctuated. He has written over 30 books of poetry, has won numerous awards including two Pullitzers, and has spent last year as our 17th Poet Laureate.
Through all of youth I was looking for you
without knowing what I was looking for
or what to call you I think I did not
even know I was looking how would I
have known you when I saw you as I did
time after time when you appeared to me
as you did naked offering yourself
entirely at that moment and you let
me breathe you touch you taste you knowing
no more than I did and only when I
began to think of losing you did I
recognize you when you were already
part memory part distance remaining
mine in the ways that I learn to miss you
from what we cannot hold the stars are made
by W.S. Merwin from The Shadow of Sirius. © Copper Canyon Press, 2008. This book of poetry won the Pullitzer Prize.
Bill Moyers’ discussion with W.S. Merwin is tender, honest, enlightening.