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Short poem

Albert Frank Moritz (1947-)

Home Again Home Again

              1Your parents had reached a long slow time,
              2as animals do, the great center of their lives,
              3when they gleam in their fells as though eternally,
              4unchanging. Or as a day can seem eternal
              5if you lie and watch the full clouds, conscious
              6of your own time: you soon must get up and leave.
              7So father, mother, the small shabby town,
              8its patch of earth going on as though forever: you
              9forgot them there, where they'd been since you started out
            10and where you could find them again -- as anyone
            11forgets what he has to lean on
            12so deeply and heavily that it wounds his side
            13and the pain seems only himself.

            14Ungrateful? So you accused yourself one day,
            15waking suddenly. And when you went at last
            16to look for them where they always are, they'd gone,
            17or were withered alive, their mouths opening and closing
            18without sound. The buildings had leaned still farther
            19toward the dusty weeds and crumbs of old machines
            20littered everywhere inexplicably. And now
            21who will explain them? Your grandfather's day
            22is as absent from your thought as is your own
            23gestation. And check the records:
            24what is written down says nothing.
            25The volumes all avoid the one question you have.
            26'I'hey're like the notebooks you kept in adolescence:
            27you turn the endless pages and you wonder,
            28what did I know or feel, how did I live then,
            29what was this violence and love, this utter newness,
            30invention that could sing water and light, raging
            31at the first touch of dying, never mentioning death?
            32You went back and the bones of your native town
            33were like that, records from which something had escaped:
            34a skeletal mill that roofed ghostly technologies
            35where men once worked, coughed, burnt, bled.
            36And that way they had permitted the long pageants
            37of the children and the mothers. Whose images,
            38vague, identical, stalk by in the nights,
            39each one sorrowing and serene, her starved, enamelled,
            40hard flesh torn, her dress the blue of late dusk,
            41the heaven behind her a work of flat blinding gold.


3] fells: skin.

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): 24-25.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/7/22

Other poems by Albert Frank Moritz