A Life Well Lived

I am not terribly acquainted with you Mr. W. S. Merwin, but now that you have passed I hold you up as a life to strive for through your gracious poetry and ecological stewardship.

This profile on the PBS site is worth a read.

The son of a Presbyterian minister, he was raised in the urban East during the Great Depression, spent years as a young man in France, Mexico, Spain and England and lived his final decades as a Buddhist in a solar-powered house he designed on an old pineapple plantation, surrounded by a rain forest, on the northeast coast of Maui.

Here one of his poems on passing.


Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

from The Second Four Books of Poems (1993)

(Excerpt from After the Dragonflies)

Dragonflies were as common as sunlight
hovering in their own days
backward forward and sideways
as though they were memory
now there are grown-ups hurrying
who never saw one
and do not know what they
are not seeing

From Garden Time (2016)

Rest in peace and thank you for your words, for your eloquence.