Best of the Net 2006  

Song Sung Sang Again

I have turned the volume up completely
on the empty AM frequencies and believed.

The nothing becomes irretrievable, until beneath
the nothing I come to accept the steady hum

of the small voice inside, which scratches and chirps
in a language that died long ago. There was a bird

and then the bird was gone. There was the sun,
and we knew it as the sun, what we learned

to be life, and then there was the sun no more,
but darkness which was not altogether a new thing

and gave rise to a blue hymn ringing in our chests
until we forgot that we had felt

something like this before. Imagine the human race
that grows smaller while getting older,

the incredible shrinking man
as he becomes wise and learns to carve a flute

out of ivory, then bamboo, then the bones
of the bird he had once broken, the same birdís wing

he now crawls under to sleep every night.
And still the same tune, but with greater sadness.

Have you heard it before? Can you hear it now
in the old parts of your memory before they fall

into what we call a line? Confess everything.
At the end of this room waits a wall and your ear and hope

for just one answer. The thrum of footsteps or the beating
of something young. A voice, an instrument, a door opening

and closing. Now and again a litany of muffled cries
or the faithful repetition of the same song.

-Clay Matthews (H_NGM_N)