Words: ancient precious and helpless ones, say it

 

 

TO THE WORDS

 

W.S. Merwin, 1926-2019, American, first

published in 2001, republished in The Essential Merwin (Copper Canyon Press), 2017

 

 

When it happens you are not there

O you beyond numbers
beyond recollection
passed on from breath to breath
given again
from day to day from age
to age
charged with knowledge
knowing nothing

indifferent elders
indispensable and sleepless

keepers of our names
before ever we came
to be called by them

you that were
formed to begin with
you that were cried out
you that were spoken
to begin with
to say what could not be said

ancient precious
and helpless ones

say it

 

 

DSC00052Reflection of The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths, neon, 1967.  Bruce Nauman, American born 1941.  Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

 

 

 

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