Among my friends here is an old man named
for the first glimpse of light before daybreak
he teaches flying that is to say he
is able to fly himself and has taught
others to fly and for them it is their
only treasure but he has not taught me
though I dream of flying I fly in dreams
but when I see him he tells me of plants
he has saved for me and where they came from
a new one each time they have leaves like wings
like many wings some with wings like whole flocks
but they never fly he says or almost
never though there are some that can and do
but when they fly it it is their only treasure
he says that if he taught me now how to fly
it would be one treasure among others
just one among others is what he says
and he will wait he tells me and he speaks
of his old friends instead and their meetings
at intervals at a place where they fought
a battle long ago when they were young
and won and the ancient forest there was
destroyed as they fought but when they return
it rises again to greet them as though
no harm had ever come to it and while
they are there it spreads its wings over them
— W.S. Merwin, from his book The Pupil. Copyright © 2001 by W. S. Merwin. Included in Migration: New & Selected Poems, winner of the National Book Award. Used by permission of the publishers, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
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Featured photo by Morgan Jones, used with permission.