Silence and Song

In paintings a divinity lives,
an aspect and presence of divinity:
the silence. Gratefully the body
drinks it through the eyes.
They see it’s a member of the body
beyond the skin—missing member, how long
missed: without it long the body dies.
Quiet water. Empty shelter
waiting, far off across a plain,
like towers, or just a ruined wall,
and the vast early evening that encloses them,
far off and long before the tired traveler, drawing near,
can hear the bees swarm in the lavender fields
and cattle lowing near the falls. Divine
silence of the poem, silence it gathers
and becomes as it comes to be known:
in its moment of being known, it turns
to a painting where the world
is gathered in the form of a ship
coming into harbor far beneath us
from the mouth of sunset. The silent
poem: the moment of repose
before the mind, changing, throws the verses
down into strangeness. Then their silent god, once more
invisible, has to go back
to singing to be heard again.

A. F. Moritz

A. F. Moritz

A. F. Moritz's The Sparrow: Selected Poems appeared in April. In 2015. he published, SequenceI: a Poem, and in the same year Princeton University Press re-issued his 1986 book The Tradition (Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets) in the Princeton Legacy Series. A Canadian poet, he has won the Griffin Poetry Prize and three times been a finalist for the Governor General's Award. In the United States, his poetry has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Beth Hokin Prize of Poetry, the Ingram Merrill Fellowship, and other awards, and his poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Hudson Review, Paris Review, Partisan Review, several issues of the Best American Poetry anthology series, and elsewhere. He is Blake C. Goldring Professor of the Arts and Society at the University of Toronto, Victoria College. (Author's photo by Steve Payne.)
A. F. Moritz

Latest posts by A. F. Moritz (see all)

Author: A. F. Moritz

A. F. Moritz's The Sparrow: Selected Poems appeared in April. In 2015. he published, SequenceI: a Poem, and in the same year Princeton University Press re-issued his 1986 book The Tradition (Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets) in the Princeton Legacy Series. A Canadian poet, he has won the Griffin Poetry Prize and three times been a finalist for the Governor General's Award. In the United States, his poetry has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Beth Hokin Prize of Poetry, the Ingram Merrill Fellowship, and other awards, and his poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Hudson Review, Paris Review, Partisan Review, several issues of the Best American Poetry anthology series, and elsewhere. He is Blake C. Goldring Professor of the Arts and Society at the University of Toronto, Victoria College. (Author's photo by Steve Payne.)