Star

By W. S. Merwin b. 1927
All the way north on the train the sun   
followed me followed me without moving   
still the sun of that other morning
when we had gone over Come on over   
men at the screen door said to my father   
You have to see this it’s an ape bring   
the little boy bring the boy along

so he brought me along to the field
of dry grass hissing behind the houses   
in the heat that morning and there was   
nothing else back there but the empty day   
above the grass waving as far away
as I could see and the sight burned my eyes   
white birds were flying off beyond us

and a raised floor of boards like a house   
with no house on it part way out there   
was shining by itself a color
of shadow and the voices of the men
were smaller in the field as we walked on   
something was standing out there on the floor   
the men kept saying Come on over

it’s on a chain and my father said
to me Don’t get too close I saw it was   
staring down at each of our faces
one after the other as though it might   
catch sight of something in one of them
that it remembered I stood watching its eyes   
as they turned away from each of us

W. S. Merwin, “Star” from The Pupil (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by W. S. Merwin. Reprinted with the permission of The Wylie Agency, Inc.

Source: The Pupil (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001)

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Poet W. S. Merwin b. 1927

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Pets, Animals, Travels & Journeys, Relationships, Activities, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 W. S. Merwin

Biography

W.S. Merwin is a prolific, leading American writer whose poetry, translations, and prose have won praise over seven decades. His first book, A Mask for Janus (1952),  was chosen by W.H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Prize. Though that first book reflected the formalism of the period, Merwin eventually became known for an impersonal, open style that eschewed punctuation. Writing in the Guardian, Jay Parini described Merwin’s . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Pets, Animals, Travels & Journeys, Relationships, Activities, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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