Friday, April 12, 2013

James Merrill

James Merrill....

I have nothing to say about this poem except *sigh.*I wish I could write like this.

Cloud Country

by James Merrill

How like a marriage is the season of clouds.
The winds at night are festive and constellations
Like stars in a kaleidoscope dissolve
And meet in astounding images of order.
How like a wedding and how like travelers
Through alchemies of a healing atmosphere
We whirl with hounds on leashes and lean birds.
As though the air, being magician, pulled
Birds from a sleeve of cloud, birds drop
To warm grass dented by a smile asleep.
Long odysseys of sunlight at this hour
Salute the gaze that of all weariness
Remains unwearied, and the air turns young
Like reddening light in a corridor of pines.
The landscape where we lie is creased with light
As a painting one might have folded and put away
And never wished to study until now.
How like a marriage, how like voyagers
We come upon this season of right clouds,
Valors of altitude, white harbors, hills
Supple and green, these actions of the sun.

[First published in The Kenyon Review, Summer 1947, Vol. IX, No. 3 ]

...and James Merrill

The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted today by Diane Mayr over at Random Noodling. Head there to see what other people have posted.And don't forget to follow Irene Latham's Progressive Poem over the entire month of April. Here's a link to the list of poets, day by day - click on the most recent to see the progress.


  1. Great poem! I only wish there were "Long odysseys of sunlight" here today. It is cold and grey, and colder now than it was earlier in the morning.

  2. *sigh* indeed! Thanks for sharing. =)

  3. This took my breath away....each line more lovely and evocative than the next.

  4. Merrill writes like a painter with all his brushes in play at once. The blank verse is exquisite, and each line holds its place. "Valors of altitude" indeed! Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a young photo of Merrill.

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