This is the Sound of You

W. S. Merwin (1927–2019) was an American poet who wrote more than fifty books of poetry and prose, and produced many translations. In the 1980s and 1990s, his writing influence derived from an interest in Buddhist philosophy and deep ecology. Residing in a rural part of Maui, Hawaii, he wrote prolifically and was dedicated to the restoration of the island’s rainforests. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry twice, in 1971 and 2009, National Book Award for Poetry in 2005.  He was named as the U.S. Poet Laureate (2010-2011).

To read W.S. Merwin’s poem, To the New Year, click:

To the New Year

by W.S. Merwin

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible


“To the New Year” from Present Company, © 2005 by W. S. Merwin –
Copper Canyon Press

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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3 Responses to This is the Sound of You

  1. Australian virtuoso Chooka Parker created an improvisation for 2020. He wanted the piece to recreate how 2020 feels to the musical ear.

    To me, it is reminiscent of the creations of George Antheil. At any rate, this composition sounds about right for this horrible year.

  2. wordcloud9 says:

    Yup – discordant, insistent, and fragmented

  3. rafflaw says:

    Crazy sounds for a crazy year!

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