For The Anniversary Of My Death Poem by William Stanley Merwin

For The Anniversary Of My Death

Rating: 3.5


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 traveller
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

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Ron Kongslie 25 January 2009

Is this poem amazing, or what? I saw, and heard, Bill Merwin at the U. of Oregon back in the mid-70's. One of those good poets who speak from way beyond the heart. This poem is not about the thoughts of your own death as it is about the mystery of life. My two all-time favorite poems. This poem and 'Snowfall In The Afternoon' by Robert Bly. Ron Kongslie Portland, Oregon 1/25/09

4 2 Reply
Karen Sinclair 30 September 2013

A touching write indeed. Considering life's continuum after his candle has gone out. I wonder if after the three days rain relates to his mourners hearing birdsong and managing to be lifted by nature and life eventually And bowing not knowing to what... This reminds me of Edwin Mogans strawberries final line. It is to me an enticer of wanting more (maybe words, life or even understanding) . Beautiful.

4 2 Reply
Danny Draper 30 September 2013

The essence is often used and here it is evoked by the consideration, not resignation, but a gentleness that knows finality without remorse but accepts simple interconnected life with the reverence of an uncomplicated sophisticated traveller with beauty and art in the sky and daily rituals. Beautiful.

3 2 Reply
Michael Walker 10 August 2019

Melancholy but dazzling at the same time.

2 0 Reply
Dr Antony Theodore 09 April 2018

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day When the last fires will wave to me And the silence will set out.. speaking of death with such freedom and peace.. and courage. thank u dear poet. tony

3 1 Reply
Kay Staley 30 September 2014

This poem is so carefully made random and set so far out yet so close to the heart that it is hard to understand. Its abstract quality and seemingly careless musings are very thought out. I only regret that it doesnt rhyme and that it has such a vague quality that leaves you with a delightful hopeless feel.

3 5 Reply
Gangadharan Nair Pulingat 30 September 2014

A poem having some philosophical thoughts about life and the shamelessness of man he wrote. A life poem and remembering the death also.wonderful creativity.

4 2 Reply
Liliana ~el 30 September 2013

An abstract questioning with depth but no answer as many live on awaiting enlightenment!

7 2 Reply
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