William Stanley Merwin died at the beginning of 2019 at his home in Hawaii. At his death he was America’s Poet Laureate with a distinctive, highly poetic voice.
Merwin spent only a few years in Deia in the early 1950s where he tutored the children of Robert Graves. His time in Deia may have had an important impact on him, introducing him to both Latin and Greek poetry as well as the oracular voice of myth. Critics have noted how Merwin tried to combine traditional mythologies into large poetic frameworks and in this he shares a common heritage with Graves.
Over time, his poetic style grew less formal and took on the qualities of spoken diction. In a sense, his poetry grew more American and less classical.
“After a Storm” is a typical Merwin poem: grounded in nature, elliptically biographical, free from punctuation and classical metre. He was passionate about nature and much of his best poetry finds him in the concrete world, watching, listening and reflecting.
“The Sound of the Light” could almost be set in Deia itself: its setting in an ancient community, the slow unfurling of a Sunday; but, Merwin works in a personal and intimate sense of now that contrasts with the timeless quality of the setting; the whole poem sepiared by the enclosing heat.
Merwin once said, "on the last day of the world. I would want to plant a tree." So he is located beside two beautiful palms overlooking Deia beside Can Fusimany. Simply walk through the cars and walk behind and sit and enjoy his two poems.
Each recording is set on a loop to play every 5 minutes. Simply sit back, clear your mind, and wait for the recording to start. You do not need to do anything, it will simply start in a few minutes.