Traces by W. S. Merwin (2005)

Papers already darkened

deckled because of the many years

bear signs of a sole moment

of someone’s passage

that surely was mine

not a sound of it now

nor its entire land

whole as it had to be

at its age

with its leaves of that day

the barking not heard

in the distance

the silence in the books then

now the machine that does it

is taking the world away

just across the stream bed

at the foot of the garden

what can abide as we go

following those

who have forgotten

what is remembered altogether

eyes but not the seeing

often we did not know

that we were happy

even when we were not

how could we have told

at no distance


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