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NEMEROV, Howard


The Makers

Who can remember back to the first poets,

The greatest ones, greater even than Orpheus?

No one has remembered that far back

Or now considers, among the artifacts,

And bones and cantilevered inference

The past is made of, those first and greatest poets,

So lofty and disdainful of renown

They left us not a name to know them by.


They were the ones that in whatever tongue

Worded the world, that were the first to say

Star, water, stone, that said the visible

And made it bring invisibles to view

In wind and time and change, and in the mind

Itself that minded the hitherto idiot world

And spoke the speechless world and sang the towers

Of the city into the astonished sky.


They were the first great listeners, attuned

To interval, relationship, and scale,

The first to say above, beneath, beyond,

Conjurors with love, death, sleep, with bread and wine,

Who having uttered vanished from the world

Leaving no memory but the marvelous

Magical elements, the breathing shapes

And stops of breath we build our Babels of.