Sunday, April 06, 2008

Confessions of an Amnesiac

The whole world wide, every day,
fly Hugin and Munin;
I worry lest Hugin should fall in flight,
yet more I fear for Munin.
-Translated from Grímnismál, of the Poetic Edda

I must put out fresh crumbs
for his weathered black beak,
though I know his beady eye
will seek out mine,
haggling over the price
like the old gods do.
Crow has his niche;
Who gives memory but for Odin's bird
Who keeps every story you've heard?

But what would you say, my heart,
after years of quiet trust,
the filled frames and old letters
that tell better than Italian opera
how hard it will be deciding
who jumps first at Last Call,
what would you say if I told you
I've forgotten the word you spoke
that pulled me in closer:

That first smoke,
the last shut door.
You ask him then,
as I stare to keep
my offering true,
if we are meant to remember
words spoken, how things end and begin,
or whether like scent after rain
and the lake's winter shroud
these mem'ries will end once, and then again.