William Stanley Merwin

(September 30, 1927 / New York / United States)

Shadow Hand - Poem by William Stanley Merwin

Duporte the roofer that calm voice
those sure hands gentling weathered tiles
into new generations or
half of him rising through a roof
like some sea spirit from a wave
to turn shaped slates into fish scales
that would swim in the rain Duporte
who seemed to smooth arguments by
listening and whom they sent for
when a bone was broken or when
they had a pig to kill because
of the way he did it only
yesterday after all these years
I learned that he had suddenly
gone blind while still in his sixties
and died soon after that while I
was away and I never knew
and it seemed as though it had just
happened and it had not been long
since we stood in the road talking
about owls nesting in chimneys
in the dark in empty houses

From 'The Shadow Of Sirius'
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press (September 1, 2008)

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 9, 2011

Poem Edited: Monday, May 9, 2011

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