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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Saint of the Uplands

Their prayers still swarm on me like lost bees.
I have no sweetness. I am dust
Twice over.

In the high barrens
The light loved us.
Their faces were hard crusts like their farms
And the eyes empty, where vision
Might not come otherwise
Than as water.

They were born to stones; I gave them
Nothing but what was theirs.
I taught them to gather the dew of their nights
Into mirrors. I hung them
Between heavens.

I took a single twig from the tree of my ignorance
And divined the living streams under
Their very houses. I showed them
The same tree growing in their dooryards.
You have ignorance of your own, I said.
They have ignorance of their own.

Over my feet they waste their few tears.

I taught them nothing.
The eyes are returning under the stones. And over
My dry bones they build their churches, like wells.

W.S. Merwin

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