Thursday, October 25, 2012

Today's Thoughts on "Yesterday" by W.S Merwin

           
W.S Merwin was born in New York City in 1927. Known for his unique style of unpunctuated poems during the 1960's antiwar movement. His poetry was influenced based on his interest in Buddhist philosophy and deep ecology. He has won many different awards such as the Tanning Prize, one of the highest honors given by the Academy of American Poets. "Today, Merwin lives a quiet life on a former pineapple plantation built atop a dormant volcano on the northeast coast of Maui."




        I chose this poem because it really speaks to the 'carpe diem' theme. Even though the poem comes off as confusing, it makes you realize not to take family for granted because you never know what day will be their last. The friend in the poem is trying to make the writer feel better by telling him his bad relationship with his father saying that he was not a 'good son' and reflects on the last time he saw him. He told his father he couldn't stay because he had other things to do but really there was nowhere he had to go and nothing he had to do. The 'carpe diem' of the poem is to love everybody close to you like its the last time you will ever get to see them because you just never know how quickly things can change.

Yesterday
My friend says I was not a good son                                             
you understand
I say yes I understand

he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know

even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes

he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father

he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room
to get something to give me

oh I say
feeling again the cold
of my fathers hand the last time
he says and my father turned
in the doorway and saw me
look at my wristwatch and he
said you know I would like you to stay
and talk with me

oh yes I say

but if you are busy he said
I don't want you to feel that you
have to
just because I'm here

I say nothing

he says my father
said maybe
you have important work you are doing
or maybe you should be seeing
somebody I dont want to keep you

I look out the window
my friend is older than I am
he says and I told my father it was so
and I got up and left him then
you know

though there was nowhere I had to go
and nothing I had to do
W. S. Merwin

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