The River of Bees

In a dream I returned to the river of bees   

Five orange trees by the bridge and
Beside two mills my house
Into whose courtyard a blindman followed  
The goats and stood singing
Of what was older

Soon it will be fifteen years

He was old he will have fallen into his eyes

I took my eyes
A long way to the calendars
Room after room asking how shall I live

One of the ends is made of streets  
One man processions carry through it  
Empty bottles their
Image of hope
It was offered to me by name

Once once and once
In the same city I was born  
Asking what shall I say

He will have fallen into his mouth  
Men think they are better than grass

I return to his voice rising like a forkful of hay

He was old he is not real nothing is real  
Nor the noise of death drawing water

We are the echo of the future

On the door it says what to do to survive  
But we were not born to survive  
Only to live


by W. S. MERWIN