Inside This Pencil

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 many

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.


– W.S. Merwin

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