Thursday, July 28, 2005

Peasant -- A Prayer To The Powers of This World (W.S. Merwin)

The concept of this blog is pretty simple: I want to, every day (or close to every day) post a poem I enjoy. I admit that I have a comparatively narrow knowledge of poetry, and rather particular taste, but I hope that at least a few people will take an interest anyway and maybe start (or continue) to explore poetry on their own terms, even if it means violating a copyright here and there to do so.

Today's poem?


W.S. Merwin

All those years that you ate and changed
And grew under my picture
You saw nothing
It was only when I began to appear
That you said I must vanish

What could I do I thought things were real
Cruel and wise
And came and went in their names
I thought I would wait I was shrewder but you
Were dealing in something else

You were always embarrased by what fed you
And made distances faster
Than you destroyed them
It bewitched my dreams
Like magazines I took out with the sheep
That helped to empty the hours
I tried to despise you for what you did not
Need to be able to do
If I could do it
Maybe I could have done it without you

My contempt for you
You named ignorance and my admiration for you
When they were among the few things we had in common
Your trash and your poses were what I most apprecaited
Just as you did

And the way you were free
Of me
But I fought in your ways
The way you could decide that things were not
And they died
The way you had reasons
Good enough for your time

When God was dying you bought him out
As you were in a position to do
Coming in the pale car through the mud and fresh dung
Unable to find the place though you had been there
Once at least before
Like the doctor

Without a moment to lose
I was somewhere
In the bargain

I was used to standing in the shade of the sky
A survivor
I had nothing you
Could use

I am taking my hands
Into the cleft wood assembled
In dry corners of abandoned barns
Beams being saved
For nothing broken doors pieces of carts
Other shadows have gone in there and
On hewn feet I follow the hopes of the owls
For a time I will
Drift down from the tool scars in a fine dust
Noticeably before rain in summer
And at the time of the first thaws
And at the sound of your frequent explosions
And when the roofs
Fall it will be a long while
Since anyone could still believe in me
Any more than if I were one of the

It was you
That made the future
It was yours to take away
I see
Oh thousand gods
Only you are real
It is my shame that you did not
Make me
I am bringing up my children to be you


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