The newspaper indicated it was in his sleep. Which somehow seems fitting for a life well-lived. It was about this time last year that we watched a documentary about this ordinary/extraordinary life.
I wrote the Merwin Conservancy in Hawaii asking if we could show a video documentary on his life to a group from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Falmouth and Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha. The response was very supportive and we were able to make a joint donation to the amazing palm forests of the conservancy.
He is a hero of mine and so much so, that I am not going to write about all he did, but rather strongly suggest that you look into his life for yourself. Socrates said a life well-lived is seen backward in order for one to understand what they may be if she/he wishes to see evidence of what can be done.
Rather than offering one of his poems to him, I turn to a few verses of one of his translations of poetry, Like a bow of gassho...
To A minor Poet of Greek Anthology: by Jorge Luis Borges
"Where now is the memory
of the days that were yours on earth and wove
joy with sorrow, and made a universe that was your own?
The river of years has lost them
from its numbered current; you are a word in an index.
To others the gods gave glory that has no end:
Inscriptions, names on coins, monuments, consciousness historians;
all that we know of you eclipsed friend,
is that you heard the nightingale one evening."
Yes, but what you did friend is help others acquire their ear of the Universe...