[lit-ideas] Re: Happy Birthday to W. S. Merwin

  • From: Mike Geary <gearyservice@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2013 16:57:09 -0500

I've read and re-read this poem hundreds of times, but still I cannot guess
why Merwin calls it "Departure's Girlfriend"  -- why girlfriend??  Any

On Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 4:32 PM, Mike Geary <gearyservice@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> One of my favorite poets.  Love this one: Departure's Girlfriend
>  Loneliness leapt in the mirrors, but all week
> I kept them covered like cages. Then I thought
> Of a better thing.
> And though it was late night in the city
> There I was on my way
> To my boat, feeling good to be going, hugging
> This big wreath with the words like real
> Silver: Bon Voyage.
> The night
> Was mine but everyone's, like a birthday.
> Its fur touched my face in passing. I was going
> Down to my boat, my boat,
> To see if off, and glad at the thought.
> Some leaves of the wreath were holding my hands
> And the rest waved good-bye as I walked, as though
> They were still alive.
> And all went well till I came to the wharf, and no one.
> I say no one, but I mean
> There was this young man, maybe
> Out of the merchant marine,
> In some uniform, and I knew who he was; just the same
> When he said to me where do you think you're going,
> I was happy to tell him.
> But he said to me, it isn't your boat,
> You don't have one. I said, it's mine, I can prove it:
> Look at this wreath I'm carrying to it,
> Bon Voyage. He said, this is the stone wharf, lady,
> You don't own anything here.
> And as I
> Was turning away, the injustice of it
> Lit up the buildings, and there I was
> In the other and hated city
> Where I was born, where nothing is moored, where
> The lights crawl over the stone like flies, spelling now,
> Now, and the same fat chances roll
> Their many eyes; and I step once more
> Through a hoop of tears and walk on, holding this
> Buoy of flowers in front of my beauty,
> Wishing myself the good voyage.
> W.S. 
> Merwin<http://www.coppercanyonpress.org/catalog/dsp_bookDetail.cfm?Book_ID=1238>
> On Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 5:04 AM, <cblists@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On 1-Oct-13, at 2:22 AM, Robert Paul wrote:
>>  Merwin was born in New York, on September 30, 1927. Here's a poem.
>>> Worn Words
>>>         ...
>> Thanks, Robert.  Merwin was previously unknown to me. More about, and by,
>> Merwin can be found at
>> http://www.poetryfoundation.**org/bio/w-s-merwin<http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/w-s-merwin>
>> On a more prosaic note, today is the 110th anniversary of the first
>> patent of a thermos bottle (Thermosflasche) by the German glass technician
>> Reinhold Burge.
>> Chris Bruce,
>> glad on a gloriously golden October morning to
>> be able to take a couple of cups of tea along with
>> a book of poetry to the Old Botanical Garden, in
>> Kiel Germany
>> --
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