Far Company

By W. S. Merwin b. 1927
At times now from some margin of the day
I can hear birds of another country
not the whole song but a brief phrase of it
out of a music that I may have heard
once in a moment I appear to have
forgotten for the most part that full day
no sight of which I can remember now
though it must have been where my eyes were then
that knew it as the present while I thought
of somewhere else without noticing that
singing when it was there and still went on
whether or not I noticed now it falls
silent when I listen and leaves the day
and flies before it to be heard again
somewhere ahead when I have forgotten

Source: Poetry (March 1999).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the March 1999 issue of Poetry magazine

March 1999
 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 . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Music, Nature, Arts & Sciences, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.