Saturday, January 19, 2013

William Saroyan: To the Voice of Shah-Mouradian


To the man this humble word:
Great soul, I your voice have heard.
If in fact I stand alone,
My clamor will the wrong atone.

Before your own my voice is small:
You sing, while my poor words must fall
Like so much sodden clay or mud
Into the rush of thought’s swift flood.

Yours is the flowing of the ancient soul.
While mine is but the lisping of the mind.
Yet if music the deaf cannot make whole,
The print shall give hearing to those not blind.


No art is lost and yours shall never be,
For when you sing, you sing at least for me.
And when at last my mortal day is done
Remember, friend, that I shall leave a son,
Tutored to seek the glory of his race
(Wherever he may go, to what strange place)
In your clear voice, which is the very pith
Of our old legend and our deathless myth.

And if the mother of his son shall be
A daughter of our ancient family,
I think she’ll teach him in his early years
That when you sing, though he be moved to tears,
He will yet know how once in strength we stood,
And stand forever in her motherhood.

San Francisco, California

January 14, 1933

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