BEGGARS AND KINGS
In the evening
all the hours that weren’t used
are emptied out
and the beggars are waiting to gather them up
to open them
to find the sun in each one
and teach it its beggar’s name
and sing to it It is well
through the night
but each of us
has his own kingdom of pains
and has not yet found them all
and is sailing in search of them day and night
infallible undisputed unresting
filled with a dumb use
and its time
like a finger in a world without hands
— W.S. Merwin, from his book Writings to an Unfinished Accompaniment (Atheneum, 1973), also found in the National Book Award-winning Migration: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2004).
Copyright ©1973 by W. S. Merwin. Used by permission of the publishers.
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Featured photo by Karen Bouris for The Merwin Conservancy.