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Reflections in the Silver Cup


The cholla along the ditch surprised me yesterday, coming into full bloom suddenly––in just that moment, I thought. Or, more likely, I had passed unnoticing, thinking of other such important things. The little New Mexico bees are in love with her and not at all taken up with any concerns but this. They devote themselves utterly. We are here for a nano second, and when we are gone, the cholla will still be showing off her magenta glory; the bees will keep on gathering and scattering; the cholla's golden fruits will appear in the fall beside the prosaic ditch. We are here, and then we're gone, and the rest continue despite all the indignities to which we subject them while we're here.

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with the night falling we are saying thank you

we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings

we are running out of the glass rooms

with our mouths full of food to look at the sky

and say thank you

we are standing by the water looking out

in different directions


back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging

after funerals we are saying thank you

after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

looking up from tables we are saying thank you

in a culture up to its chin in shame

living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you


over telephones we are saying thank you

in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators

remembering wars and the police at the back door

and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

in the banks that use us we are saying thank you

with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable

unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you


with the animals dying around us

our lost feelings we are saying thank you

with the forests falling faster than the minutes

of our lives we are saying thank you

with the words going out like cells of a brain

with the cities growing over us like the earth

we are saying thank you faster and faster

with nobody listening we are saying thank you

we are saying thank you and waving

dark though it is


~ W. S. Merwin

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