all my life i have been listening to the rain

by sophie


the brilliant Mel Chin. If you live in Houston, go see Funk & Wag: A to Z at the Station Museum. On til 15 May.

W.S. Merwin was here this week, and it was beautiful. He said wonderful things about the importance of reading to children, the importance of loving the mysterious, the importance of having a subject in a poem. I didn’t know his work at all before, which seems now unbelievable.  Here is a poem that made me weep:


My friend says I was not a good son
you understand
I say yes I understand

he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know

even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes

he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father

he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room
to get something to give me

oh I say
feeling again the cold
of my fathers hand the last time
he says and my father turned
in the doorway and saw me
look at my wristwatch and he
said you know I would like you to stay
and talk with me

oh yes I say

but if you are busy he said
I don’t want you to feel that you
have to
just because I’m here

I say nothing

he says my father
said maybe
you have important work you are doing
or maybe you should be seeing
somebody I dont want to keep you

I look out the window
my friend is older than I am
he says and I told my father it was so
and I got up and left him then
you know

though there was nowhere I had to go
and nothing I had to do

From “Opening the Hand,” by W. S. Merwin, published by Atheneum.
Copyright 1983 by W. S. Merwin.