November 04, 2010

W.S. Merwin and the nameless

The November/December 2010 issue of The American Poetry Review came in the mail today. It features fourteen new poems by W.S. Merwin. Here's one:

Looking Up in the Garden

These trees have no names‬
whatever we call them

where will the meanings be
when the words are forgotten

will I see again
where are you

will you be sitting
in Fran's living room

will the dream come back
will I know where I am

will there be birds

Many of the fourteen poems published in the Review, and this one in particular, reminded me of something that Merwin says in his recent Tricycle interview from the Winter 2010 issue. "Take them away, names like Buddhism." He says, "I’m impatient with them. There’s something beyond all that, beneath all that that, they all share, that they all come from. They are branches from a single root. And that’s what one has to pay attention to."

Take that quote and this poem and Merwin is telling us, Not only are names like Buddhism branches from a single root, but that tree is also nameless

I suggest picking up a copy of the Winter 2010 Tricycle to read the full Merwin interview.

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