Poetry Friday

TO THE PRESENT TENSE

By the time you are
by the time you come to be
by the time you read this
by the time you are written
by the time you forget
by the time you are water through fingers
by the time you are taken for granted
by the time it hurts
by the time it goes on hurting
by the time there are no words for you
by the time you remember
but without the names
by the time you are in the papers
and on the telephone
passing unnoticed there too

who is it
to whom you come
before whose very eyes
you are disappearing
without making yourself known

  — W.S. Merwin (b. 1927), American poet, Pulitzer Prize winner

2 Comments

  1. I actually didn’t find this one to be a downer … but on re-read, I can see how it might.

    To me, every line had an implied finish “it’s in the past”, and when you think of it that way, it’s more uplifting.

    I’m actually in a fairly good mental space right now (except for the lack of sleep due to broken air conditioning) … this one gave me a sense of optimism.

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