I try to praise the mutilated world

I often wonder what it will look like to reach the point of not just surviving my misfortunes but being simply and profoundly grateful for every single thing that has ever happened to me. And why people who want things like that are so perplexing to those who don’t. Those who wonder, in their golden ways what’s so funny about gallows humor, the sole comfort of those who’ve escaped the hangman and an affront to those who have no knowledge of his existence.

Welp, there it is, in black & white, no less.


by W.S. Merwin

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

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Posted in Art heals, Betrayal, Child abuse, Dirty Fucking Hippies, Family, Force, Fourth Street, Healthy speech is poetry, Liars, Mental illness, Murder is a Crime, NAMI and I are One, Pharmageddon, Psychophobia, Rwanda, Sexist bastards, Torture, War
8 comments on “I try to praise the mutilated world
  1. david says:

    Thanks. :-)

    No, seriously.

    “and an affront to those who have no knowledge of his existence.” Spot on.

    Take care, D

  2. rachelcervantes says:

    Hey, Robin….seriously, thanks for being the complicated, difficult, perplexing, challenging woman with the huge heart and huge brain that is you.

    Hugs. Today I give thanks that I know you.

  3. Jaye says:

    Thank you for our friendship. Thank you for being you. W.S. Merwin is my favorite poet.

  4. Dr X says:

    I think about this constantly. Here is Edith Hamilton’s translation of a few lines from Agamemnon:

    He who learns must suffer
    And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
    Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
    And in our own despite, against our will,
    Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.

    I lost my best friend earlier this year after he had suffered for many years. He was the first human being to inspire the genuine hope in me that gratefulness was possible, not just in suffering, but for suffering. It’s a hope that remains somewhat elusive in reality, but I think I’m better for having that hope, occasionally feeling that it’s within in my grasp.

    You create a lot that is beautiful here and I know that suffering is bound up in that. Maybe there is nothing that is truly beautiful that is free from suffering and loss.

    Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Stephany says:

    Thank you Robin. I’ve had a constant struggle where sadness and joy collide and get confused in my mind, based on my life….suffering becomes a solace in a strange way, it becomes home based on reality.

    You always make me think above where I am at, at any given time, and for that I am grateful.

  6. Stephany says:

    BTW , Dr.X talks about losing his best friend. I lost mine (of 43 years) 2 years ago. She was the most inspiring person in my life, through horrific childhood, and into adulthood, she always made me laugh somehow, got through it. I promised myself I would make it to 50, because she died right after her 49th birthday which is today.

    I’m still here, even though many times it sucks to be here and I wanted to walk off this planet—and hell I’m gonna be 49 in a few weeks.

    Sometimes, promises to self to remain in the game get us through the days and nights.

  7. chuckling says:

    Actually, I like your poem, I’m reading your first graph as such, much better than the Merwin.

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