Collected Poems of John Holmes
Holmes, John A., Jr.
The voice, the voice burns on and on like flame
A listener looks through, to the back of his mind,
Past the red-gold slope and spire of words looking.
You read aloud to the ill, the young, the blind.
You read to the hundred faces with no name,
Or to the beloved, the proudest words you find.
They forget you the first word out of your mouth.
Not to be remembered for speaking loud or low,
But that a story lives its little space in time,
So real the rain is wet, and they hear homes go -
What a good way to be forgotten, into a story,
A remembered sound of words when self is gone,
As a fire un-burned, wood back to the woodpile,
Or word returned to the shelf it stood upon,
To be taken down again, opened again, burned again,
The book as your voice knowing its immortal power.
Reading aloud you raise up the golden wall
Where the gold bough in the holy city sings an hour
Of glory, a poem of the honor and grief of men -
And the speaker of poems remembered not at all.