Hymn to Memory

Hymn to Memory

“Mnemosyne smiled with lingering tenderness at Zeus before adding a final comment. — One thing more is essential to know. Coming to the side of the individual she favors, the Muse becomes the shepherd, for she will guide that person safely on the path of the In Between”
(Betty Mallett Smith, The Greek Dialogues).

I cannot pronounce your name
but I want to whisper
broken fragments to you
on this small hill
in Culver City, California,
waiting on the edge
and listening for
fleeting echoes of your mystery.

I remember
squeezing into one of the overhanging riverbank caves
in back of my boyhood home,
wedged between the sandy soil
and overhead roots of a cave,
my body folded up
as if carved into this sandy cave,
opening myself to silence,
listening to my heart,
filling up this moment with dreaming.

Singing enters me,
driving me deeper
into the stringy roots
protruding out of the sandy wash
to welcome this teen-aged boy
only a few feet from the Black River.

With your guidance great goddess,
I imagine myself
directly behind our garage,
open to the influence of your power
oh memory
and the music of desire,
cocooned by a humming,
vibrating my body,
playing me as if
I had become a series of taut musical strings,
resonant with a rumbling,
filling up the cave
and my body
to become a lyre,
touched by your hands
so that the roots
joined this pulsating
with the river’s flow.

Thank you, Goddess, for these songs
and I pray you will guide me,
bringing your energy
into this same riverbank cave,
throbbing with fierce desire,
propelled even deeper into the cave’s roots,
where you welcome my song.