Seed Time

W. S. Merwin

The old photographs the prints that survived
made their way into the days of August
into the backs of the deep glaring noons
August came and already they were in place
old in arrival and knowing the ways
of settlers though not of the first ones they
recall no colors nor what those were good for
initials have become dust and shadows
water is wrapped in sheets and glass is black
but here and there faces go on staring
from paper without moving or noticing
that August has come that this is August
here is the bird of August and the dry breeze
stirring the leaves in the dust of morning
here is the white sky that has come at last
here is the bright day the prints have led to

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


10 Ways Ms., Sassy, and Jezebel Changed Your Life!

How contradiction drove fifty years of feminist media
Maggie Doherty

How Emily Wilson Reimagined Homer

Her boldly innovative translation of the Iliad is an epic for our time
Emily Greenwood

In the Shallows

Why do public intellectuals condescend to their readers?
Becca Rothfeld

You Might Also Like


Sign up for The Yale Review newsletter and keep up with news, events, and more.