VARIATION ON A THEME
Thank you my lifelong afternoon
late in this season of no age
thank you for my windows above the rivers
thank you for the true love you brought me to
when it was time at last and for words
that come out of silence and take me by surprise
and have carried me through the clear day
without once turning to look at me
thank you for friends and long echoes of them
and for those mistakes that were only mine
for the homesickness that guides the young plovers
from somewhere they loved before
they woke into it to another place
they loved before they ever saw it
thank you whole body and hand and eye
thank you for sights and moments known
only to me who will not see them again
except in my mindʻs eye where they have not changed
thank you for showing me the morning stars
and for the dogs who are guiding me
— W.S. Merwin, from his book The Moon Before Morning(Copper Canyon Press, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by W. S. Merwin. Used by permission of the publishers.
To browse through our archive of previously posted Poems of the Week, click here.
To support the preservation of W.S. Merwin’s legacy and our efforts to preserve his home and palm forest for future generations, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to The Merwin Conservancy.