Albert Frank Moritz (1947-)
Capriccio of Roman Ruins
1We, the living ones, are distinguishable
2from those we move among, people of stone,
3by the red and blue of our robes,
4the blood-glow of face, knee and arm.
5We lounge on the worn steps beneath
6the last arch of a shattered roof
7where the vegetation hangs, and two of us
8are arguing a point, gesturing
9to the empty pure blue sky. Another, alone,
10dangles his feet in a little pool of rain water,
11leaning against a toppled frieze; and one walks,
12very slowly, back and forth, before the breached
13dome of a tomb. But in the frieze
14those others, grey or white, in colorless
15garments of rock, are lounging
16on their elbows by a little pool.
17Or on the surface of a huge urn, filled now
18with accidental dust and vines,
19those carved ones talk and circle slowly
20through eroded façades and marble alleys.
21And there is one statue intact: a naked giant
22leaning negligently against
23a broken column which had long been a ruin
24already, centuries ago, when first he relaxed
25and upright, with open eyes, here fell asleep.
26So it goes back and back before us:
27this leisure among the given remains.
1] Capriccio of Roman Ruins: lively, free-form musical piece or work of art.
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 Villaneuve permissions department.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Signs and Certainties (Montreal: Villaneuve, 1979).
PS 8576 .074 .S5 Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/7/22
Other poems by Albert Frank Moritz