“A New Song” by W. S. Merwin

Today, driving to work, feeling overwhelmed by National Poetry Month, and already stressing about what poem I would find and post to the Cupertino Poetry Exchange today, I tuned in to Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac (on my excellent local NPR station, KALW).

Today’s poem, “A New Song” by W. S. Merwin, turns out to be a charming meditation on time and our (always impossible) expectations for it. The poem allowed me to take a deep breath, to laugh at my preoccupations with time, and to move more lightly into the day. That’s enough.

The New Song

by W. S. Merwin

For some time I thought there was time
and that there would always be time
for what I had a mind to do
and what I could imagine
going back to and finding it
as I had found it the first time
but by this time I do not know
what I thought when I thought back then

there is no time yet it grows less
there is the sound of rain at night
arriving unknown in the leaves
once without before or after
then I hear the thrush waking
at daybreak singing the new song

“The New Song” by W.S. Merwin, from The Moon Before Morning.
© Copper Canyon Press, 2014.

Because I do not have permission to reprint Mr. Merwin’s poem on my blog, I am encouraging you to buy his books by providing this link to them on Amazon. (buy now) Here is the short scoop on this wonderful poet. “Merwin was the 17th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry of the United States. He is the author of over fifty books of poetry, prose, and translations. He has earned every major literary prize, most recently the National Book Award for ‘Migration: New and Selected Poems’ and the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for ‘The Shadow of Sirius.’ He lives in Hawaii where he raises endangered palm trees.”

I find Mr. Merwin’s photo to be almost as calming and comforting as this poem. I hope you enjoy them both.

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