August 10th, 2014

W. S. Merwin - Thanks


by W. S. Merwin

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

-- from Migration: New & Selected Poems, by W. S. Merwin
Poetry Chaikhana | W. S. Merwin - Thanks

Gratitude (After W. S. Merwin)

Everything is a gift
i shall be grateful for all gifts
not only those i like.
To love only what and whom i like
brands me sinner and publican.
(Sinner i admit i am.
and once i thought we might buy a bar-
but i'd never be a RE-publican).
It is hard to love what is disliked,
or give thanks for that of which i disapprove.

The wise say: don't attach to what you like
and don't attack what you dislike..
All is really One; you have no choice.
The Route to Rumi's Garden is well marked;
but a downward path bereft of ego is so hard,
and gangs of thoughts beset me on my way.
I lie in my high ditch awaiting my Samaritan.
I hope i have sense to thank it when it comes.