A poem for a dark year: 2016

Thanks
BY W. S. MERWIN
Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is

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5 thoughts on “A poem for a dark year: 2016

      1. Hmm, well, I haven’t been around WP much for a while but I am trying to get back to it, get back to post poems. Cut out some of the BS time-wasters in my life. I’ll let you know if I think of/come across anything.

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  1. Just came across this (and the word ‘dualism’ of course jumped out at me) and found it quite fascinating:

    http://jacket2.org/article/corpaphysics-conceptualism-and-dualism

    As someone who has practiced taiji and meditated on and off for 20+ years, and also as someone who is color-blind, I have for a long time felt that it is rather preposterous to speak of the activities of ‘the mind’ and its products (poems, paintings, art, fiction, non-fiction, drama, etc.) as if they could somehow be separated from the body. This has become somewhat of an intuitive thing for me and I have to remind myself that I am apparently in the minority in this thinking.

    This also is I think why New Criticism always seemed rather silly to me. One cannot speak of a poem without reference to the poet and their historical, cultural and societal influences any more than one can speak of a mind without reference to the body.

    I don’t know how much of an interest you have in poetry but this particular aspect of it has become a major focus for me in my work and in my reading.

    Robert Pinsky has some very cogent and profound things to say on this and has become one of the mainstays of my poetics. If you are interested, I would recommend his books, “The Sounds of Poetry, A Brief Guide” and “Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry.”

    Apologize for the length of this comment.
    Had not intended to go on so…

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    1. Thanks for your patient comment. I will certainly check out Pinsky, have not come across him before, even though I have a background in literature.

      As for the deep link between “mind” and “body”: it does seem to have become slowly accepted amongst both scientific and cultural circles. Let’s hope this awareness will deepen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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