- By David M. Kinchen, with information from Knopf
- A final toast, from the grape of James Merrill (1926-1995). Like the vine in this poem, we will bloom again next year. And don’t miss the last installment in our Cavafy audio celebration below—Merrill, who lived in Athens on and off during his lifetime and spoke Greek, would approve.
The Knopf Poetry Team
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Again, ramshackle skeleton,
You spare the house what is about to happen.
Out of nowhere, up from the bleak ground,
My greedy twinings overcome your frame,
Climb, put blue suns forth, suicidally thicken,
And, spoiled at summer’s end no doubt
By so much wooden acquiescence, brag
Of having woken a response in you.
Who can say? A night is coming, I remember,
When I share your body with frost. A second,
And I withdraw into myself for winter.
Never mind. I’ll bloom next year.
You only, love’s uncomprehending object,
Will be replaced after a season or two.
More on this poem and author:
- Click to learn more about James Merrill’s Collected Poems.
- Click here to browse other titles by James Merrill.
- Visit our website or Tumblr to share this poem and peruse other poems, audio recordings, and broadsides in our Knopf Poem-a-Day series.
- Today is the final day to participate in our month-long haiku-writing contest—winners will be announced this coming Monday!
- Cavafy audio bonus today: click here to listen to Daniel Mendelsohn reading “One of Their Gods”
Excerpt from COLLECTED POEMS © 2001 by The Literary Estate of James Merrill at Washington University. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.