this is what the words were meant to prophesy

Dear Readers,

Happy National Poetry Month! For the first time in the decade (!) since I started this blog, I am taking a hiatus from daily April posting. I will still post as much as I can, but in the meantime, I hope you all find ways to explore and enjoy verse this month—and every month of the year. And heartfelt thanks to all of you who have reached out to tell me how much the poems have meant to you–I have maintained my blog after all this time in part because of your collective encouragement.

If you still want that regular poem in your inbox this April, I recommend signing up for daily poems from places like:


In the meantime, I will leave you with this poem from the incredible W.S. Merwin (1927-2019), who passed away just two weeks ago.

“Losing a Language”

A breath leaves the sentences and does not come back
yet the old still remember something that they could say

but they know now that such things are no longer believed
and the young have fewer words

many of the things the words were about
no longer exist

the noun for standing in mist by a haunted tree
the verb for I

the children will not repeat
the phrases their parents speak

somebody has persuaded them
that it is better to say everything differently

so that they can be admired somewhere
farther and farther away

where nothing that is here is known
we have little to say to each other

we are wrong and dark
in the eyes of the new owners

the radio is incomprehensible
the day is glass

when there is a voice at the door it is foreign
everywhere instead of a name there is a lie

nobody has seen it happening
nobody remembers

this is what the words were made
to prophesy

here are the extinct feathers
here is the rain we saw


2 thoughts on “this is what the words were meant to prophesy

  1. Good to hear back from you Natalie. I hope you enjoy your hiatus and all is well with you. I have been reading lots of great poetry. Thank you for the W. S. Merwin poem!

  2. Always grateful. Many of the poems you have chosen in the past and this one of Merwin’s can last us a year. And we have the past and when held in poetry, it is real. Thank you.

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