“So this is the sound of you”: W.S. Merwin and the Tucson memorial

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His poem read in Tucson

Speaking of the U.S. poet laureate, I just got an email from Copper Canyon Press, publisher of the current poet laureate, W.S. Merwin.

I was unaware that this week’s memorial service in Tucson concluded with his poem, “To the New Year.” The email read: “This message speaks to the inherent power of poetry, how we reach for necessary words at times when any words are difficult to find.”

To the New Year

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible


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