W.S. Merwin  

w.s. merwin

First of June

Night when the south wind wakes the owl
and the owl says it is summer
now it is time to be summer
it is time for that departure
though the blanket dates from childhood
it is time whoever you are
to be going they are older
every one of them there is spring
no longer this is the south wind
you have heard about that brings rain
taking away roofs with a breath
and a season of grapes in one
blind unpredictable moment
of hail this is the white wind that
you cannot believe here it is
and the owl sails out to see whose
turn it is tonight to be changed

To the Spiders of this Room

You who waited here before me
in silence mothers of silence
I always knew you were present
whether or not I could see you
in your gray clouds your high corners
spinners of the depths of shadows

who recur without memory
rising from beneath the moment
as it breathes trembles and is gone
bearers of a message not known
heirs of an unseen lineage

this is the moment to thank you
for ever appearing to me
through these years keepers of no word
attentive in this mute room while
the bird sang and the rain murmured
and the voice echoed from the road

patient guardians who revealed
in each sound the hour of the fly

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    Excerpted from The Pupil by W.S. Merwin. Copyright © 2001 by W.S. Merwin. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.