W.S. Merwin, a true master in the art of poetry and a profound ecologist
We have admired and been touched by the poetry of W.S. Merwin for many years. The line excerpted from this poem is particularly poignant in the midst of tragic events.
“Youth” by W.S. Merwin
SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 BY MERWIN CONSERVANCY
Through all of youth I was looking for you
without knowing what I was looking for
or what to call you I think I did not
even know I was looking how would I
have known you when I saw you as I did
time after time when you appeared to me
as you did naked offering yourself
entirely at that moment and you let
me breathe you touch you taste you knowing
no more than I did and only when I
began to think of losing you did I
recognize you when you were already
part memory part distance remaining
mine in the ways that I learn to miss you
from what we cannot hold the stars are made
— W.S. Merwin, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Shadow of Sirius (2009), and found in the newly released collection The Essential W.S. Merwin (2017, Copper Canyon Press), used by permission of the publishers.
Copyright © 2017 by W. S. Merwin.
From the https://merwinconservancy.org/: It is with great sadness and an abiding reverence that we say goodbye to W.S. Merwin, a true master in the art of poetry and a profound ecologist. Beyond the extraordinary legacies of his poetic and botanical achievements, William has left us all deeply inspired to make the world around us a better place through word and deed, and to see and preserve the natural world as the exquisite poem it is.
The Merwin Conservancy inspires innovation in the arts and sciences by advancing the ideas of W.S. Merwin as fearless and graceful examples of the power of imagination and renewal.