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Short poem

Albert Frank Moritz (1947-)

What Is Impossible

              1About the age of twenty, when the first hairfall
              2signals that nature is finished with the organism
              3and we just begin to conceive the use of women
              4(having been all this time
              5more enamored of the fountain than the cistern),
              6we retire to nursing homes,
              7whether they be kaleidoscopic gardens
              8aimed like a blunderbuss of hermeticism at our neighbors,
              9or a desperate dream safari through old Zambesi,
            10where the suicidal waves of angry natives
            11give the illusion that we are advancing rapidly,
            12or the crow's-nest of this windless office block
            13where the cook is already boiling the last sail.

            14And sitting on the bench like a snowfall of beard
            15expectorated by a cloudy hat,
            16we consider the byproducts of life,
            17such as (to name only the least offensive to the nose)
            18the body itself when it has finally reached
            19that eminence from which all is visible
            20and from which it nonetheless feels the need to move on
            21to a homestead of its dreams like an abandoned chicken coop
            22on the sandy streamside under the tulip poplars,
            23and to words, which result from an instinct
            24for what is impossible:
            25to soften the blow for others, including ourselves.


8] blunderbuss: short large-bore gun that fires many bullets at once imprecisely. hermeticism: theory of interpretation.

9] Zambesi: river running 2,200 miles from Zambia to the Indian Ocean and giving rise to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

15] expectorated: spat out.

Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
This poem cannot be published anywhere without the written consent of Albert Frank Moritz or the Wolsak and Wynn permissions department.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Ruined Cottage (Toronto: Wolsak and Wynn, 1993): 93.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/7/22*1:2004/7/27

Other poems by Albert Frank Moritz