To My Old Master

Madam: I got your letter, glad I was not forgotten,
since memory of you is something not once, but often
my heart lets into his fortress, wondering if others
assisted you so selflessly, were uplifted by your
generosity as much as I was; if others went
as far as you, to satisfy all curiosity?

None since have I served, who stir my soul’s curiosity,
such as your patient performance of duty; forgotten
never is the opportunity shown me when I went
down those stairs, into your lair, into the door so often
opened for us fortunate enough to pass through to you:
the gang of workers, fair-faced but braced to take what others

dare not handle, and untangle from cobwebs another’s
hidden thoughts. Mingling gentle care with curiosity,
we wrought within those stone walls, a future call formed from your
wisdom for all of us; which would follow us, forgotten
never, since always was your love strong, even and often
when we were wrong. I remember as if it never went,

the family we had then, and Madam, how well it went
down in those mines, where I found my treasure before others
are wise enough to discover it—that gem so often
sought after which softens and melts with curiosity
both the heart and the mind—my Janet. Have you forgotten
how fine were those days, summer always, when we were in your

workroom; and I, certain I’d find one of them, became your
red herring? A quiet boy whose fiery hair lit and went
from pages before him off into passions forgotten—
now, I am spinning lines of verse inspired by what others
passed over; old words and ancient forms curiosity
had loaned to me, which in your care had found me so often.

Still, I return to those dusty tomes and papers often;
burning to capture in a word, that trusty fortune your
lessons in life fostered, and how, with curiosity,
you taught your team to greet, with laughter, anything that went
wrong; since it is all in a day’s work, there will be others—
and in a moment all is gone, but not all forgotten.

So I write, using ancient meter to paint where I went
and assure you it is not where such fortune finds others;
I tread my memory, where you’ll never be forgotten.