To a Reader
(For Ben Fletcher and Karen Pine)
Invisible reader (listening) own
this offer, hear (however slight)
these words the cause for your effect.
To hear and mark them is a loan,
though unsecured, for which I write.
This verse, your principal due, collects
your interest paid by this my text.
Dear correspondent, without you
there is no poetry at all.
These tongueless lines (a tree of words)
that, lacking any presence, fall
in a silent forest unobserved,
soundlessly because unheard.
Philosophers argue for its sake
and violate their common sense,
and, though uncommon, such debate
is to the commoner’s expense:
that fallen trees cannot be heard
because an absent ear refutes
all sound. Alike, unspoken words
(the fugitive thoughts I think) are mute,
unread. I spill the fallen ink,
which falls in the forest of my route,
and murmurs to be overheard.
With tongue-tied tip, my scribble-pen,
or the keyboard of my soul (turned “On”),
I hack and chop the alphabet,
the obdurate wood of words. No one
is here to find the shadows cast
in the web and mumbling wreck of mind,
the parts of speech that, random, drop
onto my scrabble-page, their guide
(my only prop) a blade that rots
in the poverty of cold intent,
unbeveled by my use or wit
in the rioting slums of thought.
Come reader, listen, let me tell
a recent truth: the deaf can hear,
and the mute can speak by this our spell,
the traffic on our stage that proves
our trade: that distance disappears
when you and I are found and moved
by the quorum of this page.
Read and know the smell of rain,
the touch of lips on lip, a flood
to wash away the world, a wind
upon the battered cheek, a flame
that will kiss and cleanse the earth of blood,
a balm to close your scars, rebirth
to heal by charms your wound.
Marc Wiegand attended the University of Texas at Austin (B.A., M.P.A.), the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, the University of Houston (J.D.), and was awarded a visual artist’s Residency at The Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy. His poetry has been selected for publication by a number of journals, including The Blue Unicorn, The Penwood Review, Pulsebeat, and Innisfree Poetry Journal. He is an international lawyer and exhibiting visual artist who lives and works in the Texas Hill Country.
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