Oh pile of white shirts who is coming
to breathe in your shapes to carry your numbers
to appear
what hearts
are moving toward their garments here
their days
what troubles beating between arms

you look upward through
each other saying nothing has happened
and it has gone away and is sleeping
having told the same story
and we exist from within
eyes of the gods

you lie on your backs
and the wounds are not made
the blood has not heard
the boat has not turned to stone
and the dark wires to the bulb
are full of the voice of the unborn

  • W. S. Merwin, “The Night of the Shirts” from The Second Four Books of Poems (Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by W. S. Merwin. Reprinted with the permission of The Wylie Agency, Inc.

  • Source: The Second Four Books of Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 1993)

Poet Bio

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"I was surprised that I was able to select poems that are so out of my usual spoken word preference. The Poetry Out Loud website has hundreds of poems that I have never seen before, and the fact that I found 3 and was able to make it so far with them is amazing to me. I guess I learned that stepping outside of the box is okay!"
Annabelle Emuze
2015 IL POL Champion