Monday, April 20, 2015

W. S. Merwin: "Parts of a Tune"

One old man keeps humming the same few notes
of some song he thought he had forgotten
back in the days when as he knows there was
no word for life in the language
and if they wanted to say eyes or heart
they would hold up a leaf and he remembers
the big tree where it rose from the dry ground
and the way the birds carried water in their voices
they were all the color of their fear of the dark
and as he sits there humming he remembers
some of the words they come back to him now
he smiles hearing them come and go

"Parts of a Tune" by W. S. Merwin, from The Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon Press, 2009). Text as published at the Merwin Conservancy website.

Art credit: Untitled photograph taken on October 21, 2011, by Martin Gommel.


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