Alison Traweek

Memory

 

The work of life is in remembering,

Because the truth is in remembering.

 

In Ancient Greece it was the poets who

kept alive the stories by remembering

 

All that had been seen and heard and done by

Those whom the Muses were always remembering.

 

(The gods are entertained at their feasts by

Stories of our suffering, music for their remembering.)

 

In forgetting there is lack of truth because

What is, is, only by remembering.

 

The stories remain on this side of Lethe,

Our connection to the past is in remembering.

 

In Lethe is a cold forgetfulness;

The warmth of life is in remembering.

 

Lethe leads the lonely dead to hell;

Once across there is no more remembering.

 

My name is built on the privative of Lethe,

The absence of that which erases remembering,

 

Replaces memory with the translucence of unbeing.

My name is heavy with remembering.

 

 

 

Alison Traweek, a native Texan, is a lecturer in classics and critical writing at the University of Pennsylvania.