Voice of Summer

by W. S. Merwin

William Stanley Merwin

When I hear the cuckoo
it is my own bird
that I have not heard
for I forget how long
the bird I have seldom seen
whose call I never forget

it calls again
in its summer
and from the summer of memory
but in the moment when it calls
there is no memory

only the hush of the pasture
with the sheep in the evening
all the years at once
in the lengthening shadows
between the oaks along the ridge
and the broad valley glittering far below

who heard it
just now

who remembers
where it is now
beyond the sheep grazing
in the long shadows

The Moon Before Morning

Last updated March 02, 2023