One of the Lives
by M.S. Merwin
One of the Lives Life, Consciousness, and Existence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
[…] and if the friend who was with him
as he was dying had not had an elder brother
who also died quite young differently in peacetime
leaving two children one of them with bad health (5-8)
This super-long quote is an example of how the speaker ties his existence to events and people that seem completely unrelated to him. Our existence, Merwin suggests, hinges on so much more than what is immediately apparent to us. Far out.
I would not have found myself on an iron cot (19)
The speaker is attempting to collect all of the random events that put him where he is today. It's an interesting point of view—he's trying to see himself in relationship to the rest of the universe. It's kind of like an infinitely large Where's Waldo? drawing.
with my head by the fireplace of a stone farmhouse
that had stood empty since some time before I was born (20-21)
Now the speaker is looking at his existence in relation to time. In other words, the world was going on long before he was ever part of it. This is the small, insignificant feeling that we get when we think about how big the word (and history) actually is. When you think about it, we are very, very, very itty bitty.