crying in the darkness whimpering softly
as the hollow columns touch and slide
along each other swaying with the empty
air these are sounds from before there were voices
gestures older than grief from before there was
pain as we know it the impossibly tall
stems are reaching out groping and waving
before longing as we think of it or loss
as we are acquainted with it or feelings
able to recognize the syllables
that might be their own calling out to them
like names in the dark telling them nothing
ever about all that has yet to answer
—W.S. Merwin, from The River Sound, (A.A. Knopf, 1999)
Copyright © 1999 by W. S. Merwin.
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