By Stanley Moss b. 1925 Stanley Moss

Aging, I am a stowaway in the hold of my being.   
Even memory is a finger to my lips.
Once I entered down the center aisle
at the Comédie Française, the Artemis of Ephesus   
on my arm, all eyes on her rows of breasts and me.   
“Who is this master of her ninety nipples?”   
the public whispered.
Now the ocean is my audience,
I see in secret my last secret.


Mid-December, my old felt hat that I could have imagined   
myself leaving behind in a restaurant for eternity
blew out into the Atlantic. The damn thing so familiar   
I saw myself wearing it even into the deep,
an aging Narcissus, in white foam and northern sunlight,   
on my way to becoming a conch. It is like seeing music   
this growing from flesh and bone into seashell:
undulating salts become a purple mantle,
and the almost translucent
bivalve of memory and forgetting closes.

Stanley Moss, “Stowaway” from A History of Color: New and Collected Poems. Reprinted with the permission of Seven Stories Press,

Source: A History of Color: New and Collected Poems (Seven Stories Press, 2003)

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Poet Stanley Moss b. 1925

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Growing Old, Nature, Living, The Body

 Stanley  Moss


Stanley Moss was educated at Trinity College (Connecticut) and Yale University and makes his living as a private art dealer, specializing in Spanish and Italian Old Masters. As a child he visited Europe with his family, and after serving in World War II he taught English in Barcelona and Rome, where he became familiar with the religious and mythical figures that appear in his work.

He is the critically acclaimed author of The . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Growing Old, Nature, Living, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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