'Language'

Cover: 'The Book of Fables'

W.S. Merwin has received numerous awards, including the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. This poem, "Language," is representative of the pieces in his newest book, The Book of Fables, which assembles material from two out-of-print collections.

To mark National Poetry Month, NPR.org is featuring a series of newly published works selected by the Academy of American Poets. Learn more about this and other titles at the academy's New Spring Books list.

 

"Language"

W.S. Merwin

 

Certain words now in our knowledge we will not use again, and we will never forget them. We need them. Like the back of the picture. Like our marrow, and the color in our veins. We shine the lantern of our sleep on them, to make sure, and there they are, trembling already for the day of witness. They will be buried with us, and rise with the rest.

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The Book of Fables

by W. S. Merwin

Paperback, 349 pages | purchase

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