Friday, March 15, 2019


1927  ~ 2019



The Secret

Where are you lying

secret of the world

with so strong an odor?

Sometimes a gentle workman

in the feverish town

falls from a scaffolding

and the wind always smells of lilac;

a tenacious misfortune

lodges in the loveliest bodies

hands tighten in the evening

an animal sleeps

within walls rough by men

peace forever decays

and war no longer

has an age.


From the bones of animals

the factory had made these buttons

which fastened

a bodice over the bust

of a gorgeous working-girl

when she fell

one of the buttons came off in the night

and the water of the gutters took it

and laid it down

in a private garden

with a crumbling plaster statue


naked and laughing


A child is born

in a vast landscape

half a century later

he is simply a dead soldier

and that was the man

whom one saw appear

and set down on the ground a whole

heavy sack of apples

two or three of which rolled

a sound among the sounds of a world

where the bird sang

on the stone of the door-sill.


W.S. MERWIN (translator)
Transparence of the World
Atheneum 1969

what a book to discover back then, as now!