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Weekly Poem: ‘By Dark’


By W.S. Merwin

When it is time I follow the black dog
into the darkness that is the mind of day

I can see nothing but the black dog
the dog I know going ahead of me

not looking back oh it is the black dog
I trust now in my turn after the years

when I had all the trust of the black dog
through an age of brightness and through shadow

on into the blindness of the black dog
where the rooms of the dark were already known

and had no fear in them for the black dog
leading me carefully up the blind stairs.


As one of the country’s leading poets for decades and author of more than 50 books of verse, translation and prose, W.S. Merwin has won just about every major award available, from his first volume in 1952, “A Mask for Janus,” which was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets to his most recent in 2009, “The Shadow of Sirius,” which earned him his second Pulitzer Prize.
Watch his recent conversation with Jeffrey Brown here.

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