W S Merwin Analysis

Topics: Time, Present, Past Pages: 3 (1064 words) Published: May 6, 2012
Poets like W. S Merwin convey this concept of simultaneity in his three poems, “For the Anniversary of My Death, Losing a Language, and Drunk in the Furnace.” Merwin mixes-up chronological time in his poems to combine the past with the present. Using time as a major tone in these three poems, it allows the reader to unfold how Merwin delivers this duality of what was to what is the case.

“For the Anniversary of My Death,” Merwin writes about his appreciation and love for the life he had, as he mourns himself upon his own death. The poem uses the themes of death, eternity and life, which all coincide with this concept of time. The author blurs together the idea of the life that will go on, even after death. In the first part of “For the Anniversary of My Death,” it says: "Every year without knowing it I have passed the day, when the last fires will wave to me," is a notion that Merwin envisions for his death. Merwin uses fire in the statement “… the last fires will wave to me,” as a metaphor for possibly the people who have come to his funeral and are saying their last goodbyes. The entire first stanza is a description of how Merwin feels when he is alive, while the second referring to his life before death, using “then,” as a way to explain the past. In the entirety of the poem, it seems as if Merwin is longing for death, which is quite strange. When he states “timeless traveler, like a beam of a lightless star,” it symbolizes eternity. As a “timeless traveler,” he is someone who has spent his life whether emotionally or physically constantly moving, to a “lightless star,” as in a star that has been fading for a long period of time. Merwin is saying that he himself has been slowly diminishing for an endless amount of time. The metaphor of life and death is used in the last few lines it states: “As today

writing after three days of rain…hearing the wren sing and the falling cease… and bowing not knowing to what.” “Three days of rain,”...

Cited: Merwin, W. S. "Losing a Language," "For the Anniversary of My Death," Drunk in the Furnace" Ed. Robert S. Levine and Arnold Krupat. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2007. 537-47. Print.
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