Friday, June 19, 2009

The Unwritten

W.S. Merwin's Great Poem

I memorized this poem in the Fall of 2007 when I had the great privilege of teaching poetry for a bit to students at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School where Brendan goes. As far as I can tell, little miracles happen everyday at Haynes. Reciting this poem captured the attention of a lot of children (and a few adults) who hadn't previously shown any interest in poetry.

Inside this pencil
crouch words that have never been written
never been spoken
never been taught

they're hiding

they're awake in there
dark in the dark
hearing us
but they won't come out
not for love not for time not for fire

even when the dark has worn away
they'll still be there
hiding in the air
multitudes in days to come may walk through them
breathe them
be none the wiser

what script can it be
that they won't unroll
in what language
would I recognize it
would I be able to follow it
make out the real names of everything

maybe there aren't
it could be there's only one word
and it's all we need
it's here in this pencil

every pencil in the world
is like this

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