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
smiling 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
our lost 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
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is
“Thanks” by W.S. Merwin, from Migration: New & Selected Poems, Copper Canyon Press.
* Thank you to everyone who has helped those affected by Hurricane Harvey. If you would like to help, I shared several links at the bottom of our last post, “Hurricane” by Mary Oliver.
4 thoughts on ““Thanks” by W.S. Merwin”
Yes, “dark though it is.” This could almost be a Mary Oliver poem.
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I was shocked I hadn’t posted this one before. It’s one of my all-time favorites.
Gratitude in the face of darkness… the theme does remind me of Oliver, especially her book Thirst written after her partner Molly Malone Cook’s death. From that book… “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
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Thank you for this powerful poem, and reminder.
One of the best interview with a poet I’ve ever watched was Bill Moyers interviewing WS Merwin http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/06262009/watch.html
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