“Youth” by W.S. Merwin

Through all of youth I was looking for you
without knowing what I was looking for

or what to call you I think I did not
even know I was looking how would I

have known you when I saw you as I did
time after time when you appeared to me

as you did naked offering yourself
entirely at that moment and you let

me breathe you touch you taste you knowing
no more than I did and only when I

began to think of losing you did I
recognize you when you were already

part memory part distance remaining
mine in the ways that I learn to miss you

from what we cannot hold the stars are made

 

— W.S. Merwin, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Shadow of Sirius (2009), and found in the newly released collection The Essential W.S. Merwin (2017, Copper Canyon Press).

Copyright © 2017 by W. S. Merwin.

~~~

Text as shared at The Merwin Conservancy. “To support the preservation of W.S. Merwin’s legacy and our efforts to preserve his living legacy for future generations, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to The Merwin Conservancy.”

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