Posts tagged ‘william stanley merwin’

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Death is Before Me Today by Anonymous

Death is before me today
like health to the sick
like leaving the bedroom after sickness.

Death is before me today
like the odor of myrrh
like sitting under a cloth on a day of wind.

Death is before me today
like the odor of lotus
like sitting down on the shore of drunkenness.

Death is before me today
like the end of the rain
like a man’s home-coming after the wars abroad.

Death is before me today
like the sky when it clears
like a man’s wish to see home after numberless years of captivity.

From: Washburn, Katharine and Major, John S. (eds.), World Poetry: An Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time, 1998, W. W. Norton & Company: New York and London, p. 16.
(https://archive.org/details/worldpoetryantho0000wash/)

Date: c1900 BCE (original in Egyptian); 1968 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: William Stanley Merwin (1927-2019)

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Term by William Stanley Merwin

At the last minute a word is waiting
not heard that way before and not to be
repeated or ever be remembered
one that always had been a household word
used in speaking of the ordinary
everyday recurrences of living
not newly chosen or long considered
or a matter for comment afterward
who would ever have thought it was the one
saying itself from the beginning through
all its uses and circumstances to
utter at last that meaning of its own
for which it had long been the only word
though it seems now that any word would do.

From: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/m_r/merwin/online.htm

Date: 2009

By: William Stanley Merwin (1927- )