William Meredith: William Meredith: Grand Canyon National Park

from “At the Confluence of the Colorado and the Little Colorado”

Where the two rivers come together – one cold,
one desert-warm – the party beached the raft to swim.
A blue aileron, looking new, lay on the bank
and Dennis put his shirt and bluejeans in it,
out of the wind that had blown his hat away.
Across the canyon, silver in the sun,
the fuselage glinted. The wreck was ten years old,
two liners that had come together in broad day,
dropping their metal feathers
and two tribes of travelers who settled then
where the wind told them to settle.

About the Author

William Meredith

Prize winner, 1988

William Meredith was born in New York City in 1919, graduated from Princeton in 1940, and served as a naval aviator during the Second World War. During his service, his first book of poems, Love Letter from an Impossible Land, was published. After teaching for a few years while still in the U.S. Navy Reserves—first at Princeton, then at the University of Hawaii—Meredith returned to the Navy as a pilot in the Korean War. Always writing and publishing poetry, he went on to win a Pulitzer Prize (for Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems) as well as the National Book Award (for Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems), among other prizes and distinctions. Meredith served as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and as a consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress.

Excerpted from poetryfoundation.org