“it could be that there’s only one word”

W.S.Merwin’s poetry was characterized by indirect, unpunctuated narration.

Inside this pencil
crouch words that have never been written
never been spoken
never been taught

they’re hiding

they’re awake in there
dark in the dark
hearing us
but they won’t come out
not for love not for time not for fire

even when the dark has worn away
they’ll still be there
hiding in the air
multitudes in days to come may walk through them
breathe them
be none the wiser

what script can it be
that they won’t unroll
in what language
would I recognize it
would I be able to follow it
to make out the real names
of everything

maybe there aren’t
it could be that there’s only one word
and it’s all we need
it’s here in this pencil

every pencil in the world
is like this.

—W. S. Merwin
William Stanley Merwin (born on September 30, 1927) is an American poet, credited with over 30 books of poetry, translation, and prose. During the 1960s anti-war movement, Merwin’s unique craft was thematically characterized by indirect, unpunctuated narration. In the 1980s and 1990s, Merwin’s writing influence derived from his interest in Buddhist philosophy and deep ecology. Residing in Hawaii, he writes prolifically and is dedicated to the restoration of the islands’ rainforests.
h/t Ray E. Boomhower, who posts often on Facebook about writers.


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