The Air Is Still Alive



To Myself


W.S. Merwin, American, born 1927

published in Present Company, 2007






Ilya Efimovitch Repin, 1844-1930 painted this portrait of the writer Vsevolod Mihailovitch Garshin (1855-1888) in 1884. 

Garshin wrote short stories.  He was a progressive and his interest lay with pacificism, beauty and the prevalence and avoidance of evil. 

Mental illness ran in the writer’s family. Garshin took his life not long after the suicides of his father and brother.

  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY



Even when I forget you

I go on looking for you

I believe I would know you

I keep remembering you

sometimes long ago but then





other times I am sure you

were here a moment before

and the air is still alive

around where you were and I





think then I can recognize

you who are always the same

who pretend to be time but

you are not time and who speak

in the words but you are not

what they say you who are not






lost when I do not find you.








4 thoughts on “The Air Is Still Alive

      1. Repin: I wish there were more around. This portrait went up recently at the Met. Or maybe they have more squirrelled away! So glad you know him.

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