Poem

Socrates’ Complaint About the New Technology of Writing

This discord of words
left in our heads by dead men—their
twisted syllables—this braid is
coming loose again. Those yet-unborn will be

the guardians of our thoughts.
They will be the hearers of many.
They will have learned nothing.

***

Now what we had by heart
no longer belongs to us.

The things we find (blossoms unfurling beside
the road) we catalogue and collectively
keep.
We write them down as a memorial.

***

Though there are times
when we see into the blankness

beyond this world to Olympus—that rush of light—

when we try to write it, the vision
becomes a few chords cradled on a mountain wind.

And if you who are yet to live
ask us what it is we’ve seen—if you reach for me—even
in a dream—you will wake to your own world’s
empty wind and the silence
that comes after speech—.

by Amanda Beth Peery

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