A LETTER TO SU TUNG-P’O
Almost a thousand years later
I am asking the same questions
you did the ones you kept finding
yourself returning to as though
nothing had changed except the tone
of their echo growing deeper
and what you knew of the coming
of age before you had grown old
I do not know any more now
than you did then about what you
were asking as I sit at night
above the hushed valley thinking
of you on your river that one
bright sheet of moonlight in the dream
of the waterbirds and I hear
the silence after your questions
how old are the questions tonight
– W.S. Merwin, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Shadow of Sirius (2009, Copper Canyon Press) and found in his latest collection, The Essential W.S. Merwin, edited by Michael Wiegers (2017, Copper Canyon Press). Used by permission of the publishers.
Copyright © 2009 by W. S. Merwin.
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