Naked to All Interpretation

There is a speaking in tongues by the dead,
like the anaesthetic babble
of a patient held down in death-likeness by his drugs:
geyser of vituperation and sentiment, names
of lost dogs and lovers—faces
melting together in a fire. And what is mixed there…
the listeners, pausing with sponge, clamp,
bisturi, and laser scalpel, can’t make it out.
The voice of the dead through another
head, another voice—a widow
doddering, rocking her body, in the cemetery
where her lover festers. The voice of the dead,
the poem naked to all interpretation,
a muttering humming with no one now
to speak for it. Its author, its husband gone, the one
who raised it from the stony beach of sounds.
Its shepherd gone, leaving it
wandering idly around. A thread stretching
with knots of rage and homesick lamentation
through all ears, mouths, and streets.

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

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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.)