Monday, January 17, 2011

to prose


Whatever you may say
whatever you pretend
you do not begin or end
when the stories do
the ones that you repeat
later starting again
or when the days that you tell
all those that never
themselves said a word
have long been utterly still
and yet you were there 
when they were 
you were heard
commenting in the unmetered
service of understanding
your description
remains current for some time
after the face has gone
even if not written down
but you are different
from what you recount
and although we know 
only scattered fragments of you
glimpses of birds in bushes
gestures in car windows 
of which we forget
at once almost everything 
you define us
we are the ones who need you
we can no longer tell
whether we believe
anything without you
or whether we can hear
all that you are not
O web of answer
sea of forgetting is it true
that you remember

~ W.S. Merwin
from Present Company