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For me today began, as it did for many of us, with a brief review of Beyoncé's feature in Megan Thee Stallion's remix of "Savage." As I was TikTok dancing to the song while washing my one lunch plate, one of Beyonce's lines caught my attention: "Please don't give me hype / write my name in ice / can't argue with these lazy bitches I just raise my price," I think it goes.

Beyonce's reference to the tombstone of the poet John Keats rang loud and clear as a bell. Keats famously requested that his tombstone read, "Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water." Beyonce's request to write her name in ice nicely remixes Keats's line, and of course updates it with the connotation of a heavily jeweled necklace. (Fun fact: the inscription on Keats' tombstone actually reads, "This grave contains all that was Mortal of a Young English Poet, Who, on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart at the Malicious Power of his Enemies, Desired these Words to be engraven on his Tomb Stone: Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water," which also resonates with Beyonce's anger at lazy bitches. Who were Keats's enemies, you ask? Fucking Lord Byron, for one, who called the young poet a "little dirty blackguard." )

Anyway so then obviously I thought of one of my favorite Keats poems, "To—," an amorous poem addressed to "a lady whom he saw for some few moments at Vauxhall," according to John Barnard's edition of Keats's Selected Poems. The poem is all about how Keats can't look at a rose or see anything nice without thinking of this woman he saw but never met at a party in London five years ago. I was going to write about that poem, but then I remembered W.S. Merwin basically wrote a remix of it that better suits our current mood.

Merwin's poem is called "Separation," which you can find in his book, The Second Four Books of Poems, available at local bookstores.

A few notes:

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• Hard to think of a clearer, cleaner metaphor for the paradox of a present absence than this three-line wonder. Though the needle-and-thread imagery might seem a bit trite, I think it works here because it's tapping into the ancient Greek trope of weaving as a metaphor for poetry. ("Text" and "textile" share the same etymological root for a reason.) Merwin writing this poem in the middle of his long career suggests that this person is woven into everything he's ever written, which means a lot given how many books Merwin published.

• What color is the thread for you? For me, it's red.

• As I wrote before he died, Merwin lived in Hawaii, where he and his wife Paula preserved and regenerated native plants on a 19-acre site on the north shore of Maui. The site is called The Merwin Conservancy. It's the largest private collection of palms in the world, and one of the species that grows there was thought to be extinct. Poets are mostly known for killing trees, but this guy brought them back from the dead.

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