In Memory of W.S. Merwin

There lies the great poet
In the hamlet of Haiku

Influenced by seeds
My fellow wandering soul
Content with the heart

Beating as birds in the sky
Welcoming wind to the trees

That day was sunny
When the Ides of March took you
Leis replaced laurels

Settled the outer reaches
Of the West earthly Janus

Doorway of culture
Passer of left behind worlds
Ferryman’s new eyes

You fought against war you called
Homer the greatest poet

You bore the same name
As my ancestor long gone
Cunning warrior

Dao masters open their arms
At the last step of the way

Mencius guides you
To the cupped ear of Buddha
These spirits flow true

With Milton in the black den
You could hear the written word

What did you write last
More than a poem a letter
One lone passing thought

You had taken so much more
Knowing where art falls short

The last fires set out
Rain glosses leaves unnoticed
The earth’s been colder

Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

Alex Stanley

Alex Stanley is a graduate of Boston College, and he received his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine. He is a former sports journalist, and his sports writing has been featured in Sports Illustrated. His published poems have appeared in American Poets Magazine, the HCE Review, Helix Magazine, Sunspot Literary Journal, RockPaperPoem, Duck Lake Journal, The Write Launch and the Doozine. He is a recipient of the 2021 Academy of American Poets Award. He resides in Costa Mesa, CA.