Listen
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 thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our 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
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 door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
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
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
 
From Migration: New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2005). Copyright © 1988 by W. S. Merwin. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

For the Anniversary of My Death by W. S. Merwin
Language by W. S. Merwin
Certain words now in our knowledge we will not use again
My Friends by W. S. Merwin
My friends without shields walk on the target
One of the Lives by W. S. Merwin
If I had not met the red-haired boy whose father
Variation on a Theme by W. S. Merwin
Thank you my life long afternoon
Yesterday by W. S. Merwin
My friend says I was not a good son


Further Reading

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Howl, Parts I & II
by Allen Ginsberg
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by Reginald Shepherd
Alice at Seventeen: Like a Blind Child
by Darcy Cummings
Ave Maria
by Frank O'Hara
Ballad
by Sonia Sanchez
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by Camille T. Dungy
Charlotte Brontë in Leeds Point
by Stephen Dunn
Cicada
by John Blair
Coach Losing His Daughter
by Jack Ridl
Dangerous for Girls
by Connie Voisine
Deer Hit
by Jon Loomis
Falling
by James Dickey
Flowers of Rad
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Ground Swell
by Mark Jarman
homage to my hips
by Lucille Clifton
In Knowledge of Young Boys
by Toi Derricotte
Lady Tactics
by Anne Waldman
Mairsy and Dosey
by Sharon Olds
Making a Fist
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Mermaid Song
by Kim Addonizio
Notes from the Other Side
by Jane Kenyon
Patience
by Kay Ryan
Possum Crossing
by Nikki Giovanni
Sticks
by Thomas Sayers Ellis
That Sure is My Little Dog
by Eleanor Lerman
The Changing Light
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
The Fist
by Derek Walcott
The New Higher
by John Ashbery
The Pomegranate
by Eavan Boland
The Wild Iris
by Louise Glück
The Young Man's Song
by W. B. Yeats
White Apples
by Donald Hall
Workshop
by Billy Collins
Thanks and Gratitude
A List of Praises
by Anne Porter
A Toast
by Ilya Kaminsky
Around Us
by Marvin Bell
Dusting
by Marilyn Nelson
For the Fallen
by Laurence Binyon
For the Twentieth Century
by Frank Bidart
Lift Every Voice and Sing
by James Weldon Johnson
Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus [excerpt]
by Denise Levertov
Rabbi Ben Ezra
by Robert Browning
Slow Waltz Through Inflatable Landscape
by Christian Hawkey
Starfish
by Eleanor Lerman
Thank You For Saying Thank You
by Charles Bernstein
Thanksgiving Letter from Harry
by Carl Dennis
The Culture of Glass
by Thylias Moss
The Routine Things Around the House
by Stephen Dunn
The Teacher
by Hilarie Jones
The Thanksgivings
by Harriet Maxwell Converse
The Triumph of Time
by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Two Countries
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Visiting Pai-an Pavilion
by Hsieh Ling-yun
What Was Told, That
by Jalalu'l-din Rumi