Mnemosyne, daughter of Heaven and Earth, bride of Zeus, in nine nights becomes the mother of the nine Muses. Drama and music, dance and poetry are of the womb of Mnemosyne, Dame Memory. It is plain that the word means something else than merely the psychologically demonstrable ability to retain a mental representation, an idea, of something which is past. Memory—from Latin memor, mindful—has in mind something that is in the mind, thought. But when it is the name of the Mother of the Muses, "Memory" does not mean just any thought of anything that can be thought. Memory is the gathering and convergence of thought upon what everywhere demands to be thought about first of all. Memory is the gathering of recollection, thinking back. It safely keeps and keeps concealed within it that to which at each given time thought must be given before all else, in everything that essentially is, everything that appeals to us as what has being and has been in being. Memory, Mother of the Muses—the thinking back to what is to be thought is the source and ground of poesy. This is why poesy is the water that at times flows backward toward the source, toward thinking as a thinking back, a recollection. Surely, as long as we take the view that logic gives us any information about what thinking is, we shall never be able to think how much all poesy rests upon thinking back, recollection. Poetry wells up only from devoted thought thinking back, recollecting.
Under the heading Mnemosyne, Hoelderlin says:
"We are a sign that is not read . . ."
We? Who? We the men of today, of a "today" that has lasted since long ago and will still last for a long time, so long that no calendar in history can give its measure. In the same hymn, "Mnemosyne," it says: "Long is/The time"—the time in which we are a sign, a sign that is not read. And this, that we are a sign, a sign that is not read—does this not give enough food for thought? the poet says in