W.S. Merk, BRIGHT SILENCE: A New Volume of Poetry

By , May 10, 2011

Tonight is the first quarter moon, but there’s no corresponding poem from Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons. But for me, that’s okay right now, because my poetic attentions have been focused on another writer at the moment.

W.S. Merk has just published his first slim volume of poems, Bright Silence. I’ve been anticipating it for a while, knowing it was on the way, but on the whole, it’s been quite a surprise.

I’ve known W.S. Merk, Bill to his friends, for more than a decade. If you’d asked me, I might have said that he had the soul of a poet, but as far as I can remember, he never mentioned that he actually wrote poetry, until recently. Bill didn’t spend a lot of time talking about himself. He’s that rare companion, a good listener, who, when he speaks, generally asks questions about you.

But, it turns out that he is, indeed, a poet, and a good one. I’d been ready to support his publication out of loyalty, but that’s not necessary—I can wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone who likes poetry, especially those who enjoy the likes of Gary Snyder, Neruda, or William Stafford.

What particularly draws me to the work, typically, is his observation of Nature, in Alaska, the west coast of the lower 48, and the western deserts. He evokes the wonder and peace these places instill in one. And of course, our homestead is the perfect setting for reading his work. When Bright Silence first arrived, the afternoon shadow crept up the face of The Mountain With No Name across the fjord from our cabin as I read these lines that close his poem, Answering the Silent Call:

Each day, the sun climbs higher;
And as the snow retreats,
It draws us following,
Like Shadow.


If you’d like a copy of Bright Silence, visit W.S. Merk’s blog to order.

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