NOW IT IS CLEAR
Now it is clear to me that no leaves are mine
no roots are mine
that wherever I go I will be a spine of smoke in the forest
and the forest will know it
we will both know it
and that birds vanish because of something
that I remember
flying through me as though I were a great wind
as the stones settle into the ground
the trees into themselves
staring as though I were a great wind
which is what I pray for
it is clear to me that I cannot return
but that some of us will meet once more
like our own statues
and some of us still later without names
and some of us will burn with the speed
of endless departures
and be found and lost no more
— W.S. Merwin, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Carrier of Ladders, also found in The Second Four Book of Poems (Copper Canyon Press). Copyright © 1970 by W. S. Merwin. Used by permission of the publishers.
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