Poets & Writers

A Poet a Day: W.S. Merwin Reads ‘Rain Light’

"Rain Light"

A Poet a Day: W.S. Merwin

During these trying days of social distancing, self-isolating and quarantines, days rife with fear and anxiety, my colleagues and I thought you might like some company. So each day we will be introducing you to poets we have met over the years. The only contagion they will expose you to is a measure of joy, reflection and meditation brought on by “the best words in the best order.”
— Bill Moyers

In this clip from Bill’s 2009 interview with poet W.S. Merwin, he reads his poem “Rain Light.” Merwin talked several times with Bill over the years. Access the full interview in our video archive.

“Rain Light”

All day the stars watch from long ago
my mother said I am going now
when you are alone you will be all right
whether or not you know you will know
look at the old house in the dawn rain
all the flowers are forms of water
the sun reminds them through a white cloud
touches the patchwork spread on the hill
the washed colors of the afterlife
that lived there long before you were born
see how they wake without a question
even though the whole world is burning

— W.S. Merwin, from his Pulitzer-Prize winning book The Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon Press, 2008).