To the New Year

W.S. Merwin
  • W.S. Merwin
  • With what stillness at last
  • you appear in the valley
  • your first sunlight reaching down
  • to touch the tips of a few
  • high leaves that do not stir
  • as though they had not noticed
  • and did not know you at all
  • then the voice of a dove calls
  • from far away in itself
  • to the hush of the morning
  • so this is the sound of you
  • here and now whether or not
  • anyone hears it this is
  • where we have come with our age
  • our knowledge such as it is
  • and our hopes such as they are
  • invisible before us
  • untouched and still possible

William S. Merwin was born in 1927 in New York City and grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The author of more than 50 books of poetry, translation, and prose, he has twice been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and is the recipient of the National Book Award for Poetry and in 2010 was named United States Poet Laureate.  Strongly objecting to the U.S. war against the people of Vietnam during the late 1960s, Merwin donated his prize money from the 1971 Pulitzer Prize to the draft resistance movement. He received another Pulitzer for his volume The Shadow of Sirius, a volume that was published in 2008 by Copper Canyon Press. He currently lives in Hawaii. “To the New Year” is from his volume Present Company, published by Copper Canyon Press in 2005, and is reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press.

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