This poem by Jack DeWitt
was originally printed in the
liner notes of Loud Like Hemlocks.

Music is memory. From the very beginning we know that--from the cave of the womb, where every sound is an echo, where there is no silence, where everything is repeated in the same rhythm we remember whenever we think about the ocean or listen to Max Roach


like the night we were in Connolly's in Boston listening to a bass player who kept throwing notes away of paper stuck to his shoe until he took his solo and then like a movie run backwards--where the broken vase is made whole again all the pieces fit together and all the while he whistled softly into his coat like a shy yellow bird while his fingers danced on the strings and I remembered that I had heard it all before

or that time in the middle of Massachusetts woods with the ocean so close it stung our eyes and we heard the night bird and we wondered what it was and when the sound echoed in the dark again we knew it was no bird but it was music--a dark music, a trill colder than the air, a metal sound, like zinc, a sound as loud as hemlocks--And when it stopped we knew something about night and the ocean we could not hear

or how on the road from Provincetown to Providence we heard "So What" on a radio station out of Plymouth and we kept listening long after the station had faded into the darkness of Pawtucket and we were happy like reed boats on the open water

©2001, Jack DeWitt