It has become a bit of technological ritual to listen to The Writer's Almanac podcast before we drift off to sleep. Garrison Keillor reads out the literary birthdays of the day, and shares a little bit about each author, and then reads a poem. Last night the poem was Key to the Highway by Mark Halliday.

It's a memory of a highway drive years ago, and it's a meditation on forgetfulness. Meditation isn't the right word. Because there's anger lined with bewilderment.
I am upset by the fact that that night is so absolutely gone.
No, "upset" is too strong. Or is it.
But that night is so obscure -- until now
I may not  have not thought of that ride once
in eight years -- and this obscurity troubles me.
Death is going to defeat us all so easily.
Obscure, from the Latin obscurus, meaning dark.

One of the most common questions you hear is, where did the time go? Time, like sound, vanishes. Sound can be recorded, but time can't. Sound is always played back in the present. And then it's gone again. In the time times are remembered, more time has gone by.

But how can a night so full of song and life and conversation and movement just vanish? The scene painted of music and singing and carefree youth seems out of time. And at the time, it's likely no one felt that time was going by. But it was moving into the dark as fast as the car.

So, what does the poet do? He writes a poem. In text can he do what in sound and life he cannot? I am not satisfied with this, but wanted to get something down to work from.


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