What Is Impossible

By A. F. Moritz b. 1947
About the age of twenty, when the first hairfall
signals that nature is finished with the organism
and we just begin to conceive the use of women
(having been all this time
more enamored of the fountain than the cistern),
we retire to nursing homes,
whether they be kaleidoscopic gardens
aimed like a blunderbuss of hermeticism at our neighbors,
or a desperate dream safari through old Zambesi,
where the suicidal waves of angry natives
give the illusion that we are advancing rapidly,
or the crow’s-nest of this windless office block
where the cook is already boiling the last sail.

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

Albert Frank Moritz, “What Is Impossible” from The Ruined Cottage (Toronto: Wolsak and Wynn, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by Albert Frank Moritz. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: The Ruined Cottage (Wolsak and Wynn, 1993)

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Poet A. F. Moritz b. 1947


Subjects Jobs & Working, Coming of Age, Nature, Growing Old, Activities, The Body, Disappointment & Failure, Living

 A. F. Moritz


A.F. Moritz (Albert F. Moritz) is the author of more than 15 books of poetry; he has received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Relit Award (for Night Street Repairs, named the best book of poetry published in Canada in 2005), an Ingram Merrill Fellowship, and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. A Canadian citizen, Moritz was born in Ohio and moved to Canada in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Jobs & Working, Coming of Age, Nature, Growing Old, Activities, The Body, Disappointment & Failure, Living


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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