Death Poems: For The Anniversary Of My Death - Poem by William Stanley Merwin

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For The Anniversary Of My Death - Poem by William Stanley Merwin

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 about For The Anniversary Of My Death by William Stanley Merwin

  • Michael Walker 8/10/2019 8:13:00 PM

    Melancholy but dazzling at the same time. Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Dr Tony Brahmin 4/9/2018 3:12:00 PM

    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
    Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Kay Staley 9/30/2014 9:53:00 AM

    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. Reply

    3 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat 9/30/2014 4:05:00 AM

    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. Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Liliana ~el 9/30/2013 6:08:00 PM

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

    7 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Danny Draper 9/30/2013 8:10:00 AM

    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. Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Karen Sinclair 9/30/2013 3:13:00 AM

    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.
    Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Ron Kongslie 1/25/2009 6:54:00 PM

    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 Reply

    Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (9/30/2014 4:06:00 AM)

    Informative comment and liked it.

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
Death Poems
  1. 1. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death
    Roger McGough
  2. 2. And Death Shall Have No Dominion
    Dylan Thomas
  3. 3. Death Be Not Proud
    John Donne
  4. 4. Death Is Nothing At All
    Henry Scott Holland
  5. 5. Because I Could Not Stop For Death
    Emily Dickinson
  6. 6. Nothing But Death
    Pablo Neruda
  7. 7. A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, O..
    Dylan Thomas
  8. 8. A Dream Of Death
    William Butler Yeats
  9. 9. Father Death Blues
    Allen Ginsberg
  10. 10. A Poet's Death Is His Life Iv
    Khalil Gibran
  11. 11. A Death Blow Is A Life Blow To Some
    Emily Dickinson
  12. 12. An Irish Airman Forsees His Death
    William Butler Yeats
  13. 13. A City's Death By Fire
    Derek Walcott
  14. 14. Death Wants More Death
    Charles Bukowski
  15. 15. Death
    Rainer Maria Rilke
  16. 16. The Beauty Of Death Xiv
    Khalil Gibran
  17. 17. The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner
    Randall Jarrell
  18. 18. Death Xxvii
    Khalil Gibran
  19. 19. After Death
    Sara Teasdale
  20. 20. The Death Of Joy Gardner
    Benjamin Zephaniah
  21. 21. A Funeral Poem On The Death Of C. E. An ..
    Phillis Wheatley
  22. 22. Death Leaves Us Homesick, Who Behind
    Emily Dickinson
  23. 23. A Thought For A Lonely Death-Bed
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  24. 24. On The Death Of A Young Lady Of Five Yea..
    Phillis Wheatley
  25. 25. A Ballad Of Death
    Algernon Charles Swinburne
  26. 26. First Death In Nova Scotia
    Elizabeth Bishop
  27. 27. Gacela Of The Dark Death
    Federico García Lorca
  28. 28. Holy Sonnet X: Death Be Not Proud
    John Donne
  29. 29. Go Down, Death
    James Weldon Johnson
  30. 30. Death &Amp; Fame
    Allen Ginsberg
  31. 31. The Death Of The Hired Man
    Robert Frost
  32. 32. Love &Amp; Fame &Amp; Death
    Charles Bukowski
  33. 33. I Have A Rendezvous With Death
    Alan Seeger
  34. 34. Death Fugue
    Paul Celan
  35. 35. On The Death Of Anne Brontë
    Charlotte Brontë
  36. 36. On The Death Of That Most Excellent Lady,
    Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
  37. 37. For The Anniversary Of My Death
    William Stanley Merwin
  38. 38. If Death Is Kind
    Sara Teasdale
  39. 39. On Death
    Anne Killigrew
  40. 40. Fugue Of Death
    Paul Celan
  41. 41. As At Thy Portals Also Death
    Walt Whitman
  42. 42. Death Stands Above Me, Whispering Low
    Walter Savage Landor
  43. 43. The Death Of The Flowers
    William Cullen Bryant
  44. 44. An Elegy On The Death Of Kenneth Patchen
    Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  45. 45. Death
    Heinrich Heine
  46. 46. On Hearing Of A Death
    Rainer Maria Rilke
  47. 47. Death
    William Butler Yeats
  48. 48. A Death-Bed
    Rudyard Kipling
  49. 49. A Satirical Elegy On The Death Of A Late..
    Jonathan Swift
  50. 50. Absence Disembodies—so Does Death
    Emily Dickinson

Death Poems

  1. Death Be Not Proud

    Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe, For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell, And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then? One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

  2. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death

    Let me die a youngman's death not a clean and inbetween the sheets holywater death not a famous-last-words peaceful out of breath death When I'm 73 and in constant good tumour may I be mown down at dawn by a bright red sports car on my way home from an allnight party Or when I'm 91 with silver hair and sitting in a barber's chair may rival gangsters with hamfisted tommyguns burst in and give me a short back and insides Or when I'm 104 and banned from the Cavern may my mistress catching me in bed with her daughter and fearing for her son cut me up into little pieces and throw away every piece but one Let me die a youngman's death not a free from sin tiptoe in candle wax and waning death not a curtains drawn by angels borne 'what a nice way to go' death

  3. And Death Shall Have No Dominion

    And death shall have no dominion. Dead man naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon; When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion. Under the windings of the sea They lying long shall not die windily; Twisting on racks when sinews give way, Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break; Faith in their hands shall snap in two, And the unicorn evils run them through; Split all ends up they shan't crack; And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion. No more may gulls cry at their ears Or waves break loud on the seashores; Where blew a flower may a flower no more Lift its head to the blows of the rain; Though they be mad and dead as nails, Heads of the characters hammer through daisies; Break in the sun till the sun breaks down, And death shall have no dominion.

  4. Because I Could Not Stop For Death

    Because I could not stop for Death- He kindly stopped for me- The Carriage held but just Ourselves- And Immortality. We slowly drove- He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility- We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess- in the Ring- We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain- We passed the Setting Sun- Or rather- He passed us- The Dews drew quivering and chill- For only Gossamer, my Gown- My Tippet- only Tulle- We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground- The Roof was scarcely visible- The Cornice- in the Ground- Since then- 'tis Centuries- and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity-

  5. Death Is Nothing At All

    Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away to the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect. Without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same that it ever was. There is absolute unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you. For an interval. Somewhere. Very near. Just around the corner. All is well. Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.