Narrative Magazine Friday Feature: U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin Shares A Poem

05/27/2011 08:50 am ET | Updated Jul 27, 2011

Narrative Magazine: W. S. Merwin, Poet Laureate of the United States, has been writing his widely read poems for five decades. Throughout his poetry runs a theme of grief that springs from his parents having grown up amid tragedy and violence. The poem below comes from his collection "The Shadow of Sirius," for which Merwin received his second Pulitzer Prize (2009). “Letter to Ruth Stone” is an homage and intimation of immortality for a woman who has endured hardship and is still writing her own exquisite poems at the age of ninety-six.

Letter to Ruth Stone

by W. S. Merwin

NOW THAT YOU have caught sight
of the other side of darkness
the invisible side
so that you can tell
it is rising
first thing in the morning
and know it is there
all through the day
another sky
clear and unseen
has begun to loom
in your words
and another light is growing
out of their shadows
you can hear it
now you will be able
to envisage beyond
any words of mine
the color of these leaves
that you never saw
awake above the still valley
in the small hours
under the moon
three nights past the full
you know there was never
a name for that color

From "Shadow of Sirius"

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