The beloved poet W. S. Merwin died last Friday, taking with him a big chunk of the beauty in this world. He was a Buddhist, an environmentalist, a U. S. poet laureate and winner of the National Book Award for Poetry, the Tanning Prize from the Academy of American Poets and the Pulitzer Price (twice).

If you haven’t read his work, please give yourself the deep pleasure of breathing in his words.

For starters, here’s a favorite poem about writing.

The Unwritten by W. S. Merwin

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
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

Photo Credit: Plush Design Studio 

I lead writing and mindfulness workshops throughout the Bay Area. My approach is adaptable in many settings — from helping groups honor an important life event to assisting a business team in articulating a shared vision. Contact me to learn more. For information on my San Francisco real estate practice, visit my real estate blog, or my business website,