Homage to W.S. Merwin

For over forty years I have read your mystic
whisperings, whose images of troughs

of wind through the pines and of birds
returning home from their voyage across

the sea have filled me with oceanic delight,
with the scent of sea salt and redolence

of the windy piney woods where vision
continues long after the images have been

cast, that blows through me as through
the branches of spruce or hemlock, that

rise in me and raise me up, as unnamable
as a flock of birds that I barely see returning

homeward in the distance, but when
they overtake me, swirling above me

on their tireless wings, beating towards
their roost on this island, they create a wind

of their own, that washes over me, as I stand
renewed in the sunlit shadows of the palms.


The time the drove escaped from their pen from the farm
across the road, they moved in a huddle over the lawn,

red-cheeked and pink in their muddied nakedness, cheery
in their sanguine abandon, snorting in their anticipation

of their approaching the compost pile beside the barn.
They jiggled when they moved, ears cocked,

ruddy-faced, in their collective charge forward together,
insouciant in their newfound freedom, just the oh, yes

of them a pleasure to observe in their open delight that
was as sheer of a thing as they were of a weighty heft.

Gregarious in their gait together in their small herd, they
launched themselves forward with an intelligence that

seemed to be fertile in their brains, more so, than other
animals, apparently protective of each other as they were

of themselves, seemingly motivated in that they bore
resemblance more to humans, especially in the glib look

on their faces, and that they moved about in the world
not so much at random but that they had intent, a plan

that included one for all and all for one, in their reaching
the kale stems, apple cores, and still-juicy melon rinds

that they so auspiciously found among coffee grounds
in the compost, before their farmer, smiling broadly,

brought them back to the sparseness of their
wooden pens, spattered with a wealth of mud, as tines

of the farmer’s pitchfork tickled them from behind,
the lilt of his chanting call of sooty the alchemical charm

to bring them home, their snouts turned upwards, mouths
open, congenially returning, squeaking their nasal oinks,

throaty and full, on the run; the beauty in them, seeing
them come; the joy about them, in seeing them go.