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Far Along in the Story

Dreamed before 2009 by W.S. Merwin

The boy walked on with a flock of cranes
following him calling as they came
from the horizon behind him
sometimes he thought he could recognize
a voice in all that calling but he
could not hear what they were calling
and when he looked back he could not tell
one of them from another in their
rising and falling but he went on
trying to remember something
in their calls until he stumbled and came
to himself with the day before him
wide open and the stones of the path
lying still and each tree in its own leaves
the cranes were gone from the sky and at
that moment he remembered who he was
only he had forgotten his name


This is from The Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin, 2009, Copper Canyon Press.
Most of its poems concern old memories; I found them austere and without sensory color, as if Merwin had retreated into his head. The handful of dream poems are still sober, but subtly more colorful and sensuous, full of living things; and most have odd connections to those creatures.

--Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: dream poetry - kids - quests - birds - cranes and herons - memory and amnesia - the power of names - more W.S. Merwin: Without Knowing - Dream of Koa Returning - Another Dream of Burial - more migrations on foot: Alder joins a flock of herons who've lost their Flock Wisdom - Wayan leads the Wapato Birds and joins the Migration through Fire

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