These sites usually talk about other things besides music These sites mainly talk about music
Merwin and the National Book Award
Friday, November 18, 2005
Finally, W.S. Merwin won a National Book Award for Migration: New and Selected Poems. He's won several other prizes, including a Pulitzer in 1970, but never a NBA, even though he's been nominated many times in the past. Now all that's left to win is a Nobel Prize in Literature. I've said it once, and I'll say it again, he and Robert Bly should win the Nobel Prize, not just for their poetry alone, but also for their wonderful translations over the years. If Merwin dies before winning the Nobel Prize, it will rank up there with the tragedy of Borges and Nabokov never winning it either.

Merwin is one of my all-time favorite poets. Here are a few poems I like (and I hope you will too).

"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


Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.


I want to tell what the forests
were like

I will have to speak
in a forgotten language


My friend says I was not a good son
you understand
I say yes I understand

he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know

even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes

he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father

he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room
to get something to give me

oh I say
feeling again the cold
of my father's hand the last time

he says and my father turned
in the doorway and saw me
look at my wristwatch and he
said you know I would like you to stay
and talk with me

oh yes I say

but if you are busy he said
I don't want you to feel that you
have to
just because I'm here

I say nothing

he says my father
said maybe
you have important work you are doing
or maybe you should be seeing
somebody I don't want to keep you

I look out the window
my friend is older than I am
he says and I told my father it was so
and I got up and left him then
you know

though there was nowhere I had to go
and nothing I had to do
posted by pimplomat @ 11:54 AM  
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