Today's poem is by Emmanuel Moses (translated by Marilyn Hacker)

Mr. Nobody Speaks to His Voice

Voice, you sprouted like a shrub
year after year:
I remember your first fragility,
touching frailty they'd do anything to protect
then the sudden, succeeding roughness
with a vigor no one would have thought you had.
Where was the foliage of your songs and cries?
You were naked then as those black skeletons lined up on winter roads
between snow-covered fields.
When you cradled infant ears and the exquisite ones of the beloved
bringing sleep to one and the other
it seemed you had reached your golden age
which, like the poets, you thought would never end.
But soon noises still unknown to you, pleas, moans, sighs
glided into you like hands into someone else's gloves.
As well as you could, you put up with them, you claimed them,
they became your attributes, your weapons,
and other women murmured that you were gentle
in the night after love's long commotion.
When the time comes when you tremble like a string
that has shot its arrow towards the target,
when you are chipped, crumbled, broken,
when you caw, croak pitifully,
console yourself, tell yourself that at the end of the cold, dark corridor
shines your immortal soul: silence.

Copyright © 2009 Emmanuel Moses (translated by Marilyn Hacker) All rights reserved
from He and I
Oberlin College Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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