Remember Memory

posted by Jonathan Frei On Tuesday, October 27, 2009
(The following is from my 2005 book of poetry, Ordinary Time, which provided the inspiration for the title of this blog. I will be republishing the poems here over the next several weeks in their original order)

Remember Memory

The water, turning over on itself,
the shifting of a formless mass, swirling
in and against itself, and refusing

to cease is safe, between the embrace of
the arms that hold it dear, and know the folds,
and all within by name, and how to bend

the resistance at the edges, and pull
the waves on the receding tide into
the deepest ocean’s heart. When the ear’s sense

can finally hear the sound, the harmony,
then truth will enter in the hollowed space
and take a firm hold, deep where it belongs,

where it can grow. The plane beyond the shore
is restless and will never sleep as long
as the pockmarked moon forces it to keep

wrestling with the land. Love cannot rest
in the sleepless thrashing waves. Remember,
the strong momentum of the sea must stop

eventually—when the spinning earth rests,
When the moon drifts away, and when the sun
begins to swell up red—but until then,

on the darkest shore that strikes land, forget
the words. Remember the revolutions
of reality’s struggle. Remember

the sounds that lined the edges in the dark,
the soft returning and the withdrawing
of the slow waves at night and the way they

can drag a pebble out to sea and drown
it in itself. Forget the words spoken.
Forgive the lies. Forget the truth and listen

to the sounds dragging in the waves. Forget
that waves have washed the shore before. Forget
the sound remembered. Listen to the sound.

For only the sound can tell what is there,
and only what is there can uncover
what is not, and separate memory.
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