Friday, January 23, 2015

The Unwritten

As I find my way back to getting words on paper, this poem by W.S. Merwin caught my eye this week. Enjoy. Then stop visit Tara, our host for the Poetry Friday Roundup at A Teaching Life.

The Unwritten

 by W. S. Merwin

Inside this pencil
crouch words that have never been written
never been spoken
never been taught

they're hiding

they're awake in there
dark in the dark
hearing us
but they won't come out
not for love not for time not for fire

even when the dark has worn away
they'll still be there
hiding in the air
multitudes in days to come may walk through them
breathe them
be none the wiser

what script can it be
that they won't unroll
in what language
would I recognize it
would I be able to follow it
to make out the real names
of everything

maybe there aren't
it could be that there's only one word
and it's all we need
it's here in this pencil

every pencil in the world
is like this

Tara host the Poetry Friday Roundup at A Teaching Life.


  1. This is a lovely poem, Dori. I've used it often with my students, too. I hope you find lots of words inside your pencil!

    1. Thanks, Linda. I'd love to see you teaching this one to students. You're such a creative teacher.

  2. Oh, I love this poem too! Hadn't read in a while, and it's a perfect nudge for writers here in the new year. Thanks!

    1. Nudge, nudge, nudge. Write, write, write. ;) See you soon.

  3. I don't know very much of Merwin's work, and some of his poems have left me wondering -- but this one is very accessible and I like it! Happy Writing to you!

    1. Thanks, Jama. I need a few of your world peace cookies beside my pen and paper!

  4. Mmm, I hope my computer works the same as that pencil. ;-)

  5. I love the idea of words hiding in pencils! Thanks for sharing this today.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find some words hiding in yours.

  6. The words are clearly ready to come out of that boy's pencil. I hope they'll find their way out of yours soon, too.