By dawn the little owls
that chattered in the red moon
have turned into magpies in the ash trees
resting between journeys
dew stays in the grass until noon
every day the mist wanders higher
to look over the old hill
and never come back
month of eyes your paths see for themselves
you have put your hand
in my hand
the green in the leaves has darkened
and begun to drift
the ivy flowers have opened
on the weasel’s wall
their bees have come to them
the spiders watch their bellies
and along all the shores
boats of the spirit are burning
without sound without smoke without flame
unseen in the sunlight
of a day under its own king
— 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 Sara Tekula for The Merwin Conservancy.