W. S. Merwin

The song of the oriole began as an echo
but this year it was not heard afterward
or before or at all and only later
would anyone notice what had not been there
when the cuckoo had been heard again
a calling shadow but not the goldfinch
with its gold and not that voice through the waterfall
the oriole flashing under the window
among the trees now at the end of the hall
of the palace one of the palaces
St. Augustine told about Here he said
you enter into the great palaces
of memory and whose palaces were they
I wondered at first knowing that he
must have been speaking from memory
of his own of palaces of his own
with his own days echoing in the halls

W. S. Merwin was an American poet. He won the Pulitzer Prize twice, a National Book Award for Poetry, and the Tanning Prize, among others, and was the 17th U.S. Poet Laureate.
Originally published:
July 1, 1998


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