Socrates’ Complaint About the New Technology of Writing

This discord of words
left in our heads by dead men—their
twisted syllables—this braid is
coming loose again. Those yet-unborn will be

the guardians of our thoughts.
They will be the hearers of many.
They will have learned nothing.


Now what we had by heart
no longer belongs to us.

The things we find (blossoms unfurling beside
the road) we catalogue and collectively
We write them down as a memorial.


Though there are times
when we see into the blankness

beyond this world to Olympus—that rush of light—

when we try to write it, the vision
becomes a few chords cradled on a mountain wind.

And if you who are yet to live
ask us what it is we’ve seen—if you reach for me—even
in a dream—you will wake to your own world’s
empty wind and the silence
that comes after speech—.

by Amanda Beth Peery