THE VEIL OF MAY
No more than a week and the leaves
have all come out on the ash trees
now they are more than half open
on the ancient walnuts standing
alone in the field reaching up
through the mute amazement of age
they have uncurled on the oaks from
hands small as the eyelids of birds
and the morning light shines through them
and waits while the hawthorn gleams white
against the green in the shadow
in a moment the river has
disappeared down in the valley
the curve of sky gliding slowly
from before not seeming to move
it will not be seen again now
a while from this place on the ridge
but over it the summer will
flow and not seem to be moving
— W.S. Merwin, from his book The Pupil. Copyright © 2001 by W. S. Merwin. Used by permission of the publishers, A.A. Knopf.
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.
Featured photo by Matt Lavin used under Creative Commons license Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).