Oct. 28, 2002: SUBSTANCE (W.S. Merwin)

Dear Readers,

Sorry I’m a little behind today–just three hours to make it in by
deadline! I shudder to think of how many people’s Monday I have ruined by
not having POETRY in their mailboxes by 8 am. To make up for it I provide
the following think piece by W.S. Merwin, an important American poet who’s
been publishing since the 1950’s. His poems have taken on more and more of
an environmental bent since the 70’s. Bonus points to any alert reader who
can tell us what a VIXEN is.

Have a good week,

Matt

SUBSTANCE

I could see that there was a kind of distance lighted
behind the face of that time in its very days
as they appeared to me but I could not think of any
words that spoke of it truly nor point to anything
except what was there at the moment it was beginning
to be gone and certainly it could not have been proven
nor held however I might reach toward it touching
the warm lichens the features of the stones the skin
of the river and I could tell then that it was
the animals themselves that were the weight and place
of the hour as it happened and that the mass of the cow’s neck
the flash of the swallow the trout’s flutter were
where it was coming to pass they were bearing the sense of it
without questions through the speechless cloud of light

-2000

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