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By W. S. Merwin

From the kindness of my parents   

I suppose it was that I held   

that belief about suffering   


imagining that if only   

it could come to the attention   

of any person with normal   

feelings certainly anyone   

literate who might have gone   


to college they would comprehend   

pain when it went on before them   

and would do something about it   

whenever they saw it happen   

in the time of pain the present   

they would try to stop the bleeding   

for example with their own hands   


but it escapes their attention   

or there may be reasons for it   

the victims under the blankets   

the meat counters the maimed children   

the animals the animals   

staring from the end of the world


Source: Poetry (Poetry)

  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

W. S. Merwin
A prolific poet and translator, W.S. Merwin’s style changed over the years from traditional to free form. He won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize for his first book, A Mask for Janus, published in 1952, and the Pulitzer Prize for his 1970 collection The Carrier of Ladders. A prolific writer, he was the author of over 50 books of poetry, prose, and translations. Merwin lived Hawaii for the last 40 years of his life; he was a devoted environmentalist and many of his poems take up ecological themes. He was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States in 2010. He died in 2019. See More By This Poet

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