Invincible Summer |||

Crossing the Styx

Robin Bell

    Mine was no sudden conversion,
no thunderflash on the Damascus Road.
I can set no time to it, nor
does it seem to be accomplished even yet.

    To be honest, it came with mumblings.
It’s hard to tell now if the voices
have always been there. Perhaps not. Perhaps
they go back only a few years or even months,

    yet I cannot remember a time when I’m sure
they were not there. Not, you understand,
that I’ve ignored them; just never listened.

    Now I think they may be important;
they are at least constant companions. It’s
hard though to make out what they say.

    I suppose I should wish I had listened
more attentively, but there is time enough.
there is time and the voices still mumble.

    Lately they began to irritate me. I spoke
to them sharply, “Speak distinctly or not
at all.” They seemed to chuckle for a while

    then slipped below the threshold 
of my hearing. I pray that I have become
temporarily deaf and that the voices are

    still there. For my memory of them
is fading and if they themselves are gone
I will be alone. When the mumbling voices
were here, I was never by myself.