This morning, I came upon this love poem by poet W. S. Merlin to his wife, Paula, and imbibed its garden calm.
Merlin, whose poetry is invested in nature, bought 19 acres of deforested land on Maui and with Paula restored its Hawaiian habitat. He had described its ruined state as the work of “industrial imperialism.” Lovingly preserved by the Merlin Conservancy, the home and garden are open to visitors.
Merlin was a prolific poet and translator, writing thirty-six volumes of verse as well as essays. Winner of two Pulitzers, the National Book Award, and poetry’s esteemed Bollingen, Merlin ranks among America’s most accomplished modern poets.
Merlin was a poet continually innovating. Like Yeats, his technique varies, depending on when he wrote. This late poem exemplifies his abandonment of punctuation, which he thought belonged to prose. He wanted his poems to exhibit a conversational flow.
I admire the gentle ambience here, the unity of a quiet love honed by togetherness across the years and of shared values, a communion transcending time and mortality:
“To Paula in Late Spring”
Let me imagine that we will come again
when we want to and it will be spring
we will be no older than we ever were
the worn griefs will have eased like the early cloud
through which the morning slowly comes to itself
and the ancient defenses against the dead
will be done with and left to the dead at last
the light will be as it is now in the garden
that we have made here these years together
of our long evenings and astonishment