Study Guide

Horizons of Rooms

by W. S. Merwin

Horizons of Rooms eText - eText

Text of the Poem

There have been rooms for such a short time
and now we think there is nothing else unless it is raining

or snowing or very late
with everyone else in another dark room

for a time beyond measure there were no rooms     5
and now many have forgotten the sky

the first room was made of stone and ice
and a fallen tree

with a heart beating in the room
and it was the ice that echoed it     10

because of a room a heart was born
in a room

and saw everything as a room
even what is called landscape

the present mountains were seen between moments     15
of remembering a room at another time

now there are more every year who remember childhood as a room
in which the person they were is thinking of a forest

but the first hands and first voices emerge in a room
with a ceiling     20

and later in another room
that ceiling appears again without the hands or voices

it is a room with an echoing wall
of ice

by now most sleeping is done in rooms     25
or on doorsteps leading to rooms

and the products of rooms
are carried on foot into the final uplands

we meet in a room
and go on from room to room     30

once there is a room
we know there was something before

and we go on living in the room as it has become
by good fortune