A Voice of Memory

“her voice was soft and sure”

from The Pinnacle,
by W.S. Merwin

I cannot get my mind round the end of time, but I have faith that long after W.S. and the rest of us have breathed our last, the boys will still be doin’ beers and shots down at Jack’s - and flirting with the local flowers, like they could bring the second coming of the morning dew. The OldCrow chasers washed down by the Pabst Blue Ribbon brews. The boys down at Jack’s said they’d never heard of you, W.S. - so I read them the poem you wrote about Miss Giles, the retired teacher, going on a walk with you, when you were a boy, before you had started school. You wrote, “we could tell from our different heights that this kind of thing happened so rarely that it might not come round again.” And you wrote, “she was beautiful in her camel hair coat that seemed like the autumn leaves.” And you wrote, “her voice was soft and sure.” The boys liked the poem you wrote about Miss Giles, W.S. The voice of the poet, the voice of his memory, like the voice he remembered, was soft and was sure. It made the flowers bloom.