Fragments from the Gone World
Simonides of Keos
inventor of the art of memory
said that painting is silent poetry
and poetry is painting that speaks.
He knew the true poet’s wish:
to make a poem whose images speak
to so many people that its words
live on forever.
But forever is much too long
a time. Just ask poor Sappho whose poems
cannot be found except in tiny scraps:
one stuck here, one stuck there,
one found wrapped around a mummy’s head,
recycled to preserve a politician’s memory.