James Merrill

In the Summer of 1947, James Merrill had just graduated from Amherst College, but he had already published his first book of poems, The Black Swan, which won the prestigious Glascock Prize for Poetry awarded by Mount Holyoke College. In April, he published four poems in Poetry Magazine, followed quickly by this first appearance in KR.

Spring 1998

The Drowning Poet

By James Merrill

The drowning poet hours before he drownedHad whirlpool eyes, salt at his wrists, and woreA watery emphasis. The sea was awareAs flowers at the bedside of a woundOf an imminent […]

Spring 1998

Entrance from Sleep

By James Merrill

         from THE KENYON REVIEW, SUMMER 1947 To wake into the afternoon for youIs a familiar gesture. Upon the eye,As dawn to the shade-embroidered fountain bringsThe young fern’s wisdom, the first […]

Spring 1998

Cloud Country

By James Merrill

from THE KENYON REVIEW, SUMMER 19 How like a marriage is the season of clouds.The winds at night are festive and constellationsLike stars in a kaleidoscope dissolveAnd meet in astounding […]

Spring 1998

Dancing, Joyously Dancing

By James Merrill

         from THE KENYON REVIEW, SUMMER 1947 And all throughout a Breughel matineeThose buxom waltzes rang. Good people, criedThe fiddler, dance! Fiddler, the dancers cried,Addressing perhaps the sun, teach us this […]

Spring 1998

Transfigured Bird

By James Merrill

        1 . That day the eggshell of appearance split And weak of its own translucence lay in the dew. A child fond of natural things discovered it.  Though it was […]

Spring 1998

Dream and Waking

By James Merrill

from THE KENYON REVIEW, SUMMER 1958 Softening the marbles, dayIs dawning, which two elms vein.Presently, slow as crochet,White veils grow across the scene.Now that my life has lost its wayI […]

Summer 1982

Caesarion

By James Merrill

A glow of cells in the warm Sea, Some vaguest green or violet soup Took a few billion days to loop The loops we called eternity. Before the splendor bit […]

Summer 1958

Dream and Waking

By James Merrill

Softening the marbles, day Is dawning, which two elms vein. Presently, slow as crochet, White veils grow across the scene. Now that my life has lost its way I watch […]

Winter 1949

Transfigured Bird

By James Merrill

1. That day the eggshell of appearance split And weak of its own translucence lay in the dew.A child fond of natural things discovered it.    Though it was broken […]

Summer 1947

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. […]

Summer 1947

Entrance from Sleep

By James Merrill

To wake into the afternoon for you Is a familiar gesture. Upon the eye, As dawn to the shade-embroidered fountain brings The young fern’s wisdom, the first world takes shape […]

Summer 1947

The Drowning Poet

By James Merrill

The drowning poet hours before he drowned Had whirlpool eyes, salt at his wrists, and wore A watery emphasis. The sea was aware As flowers at the bedside of a […]

Summer 1947

Dancing, Joyously Dancing

By James Merrill

And all throughout a Breughel matineeThose buxom waltzes rang. Good people, criedThe fiddler, dance! Fiddler, the dancers cried,Addressing perhaps the sun, teach us this joyThat is no more than dancing […]

weekend-readsCloud 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.