Dom Moraes

(19 July 1938 – 2 June 2004 / Mumbai / India)

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Absences


Smear out the last star.
No lights from the islands
Or hills. In the great square
The prolonged vowel of silence
Makes itself plainly heard
Round the ghost of a headland
Clouds, leaves, shreds of bird
Eddy, hindering the wind.

No vigils left to keep.
No enemies left to slaughter.
The rough roofs of the slopes,
Loosely thatched with splayed water,
Only shelter microliths and fossils.
Unwatched, the rainbows build
On the architraves of hills.
No wounds left to be healed.

Nobody left to be beautiful.
No polyp admiral to sip
Blood and whiskey from a skull
While fingering his warships.
Terrible relics, by tiderace
Untouched, the stromalites breathe.
Bubbles plop on the surface,
Disturbing the balance of death.

No sound would be heard if
So much silence was not heard.
Clouds scuff like sheep on the cliff.
The echoes of stones are restored.
No longer any foreshore
Or any abyss, this
World only held together
By its variety of absences.

Submitted: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Edited: Thursday, March 29, 2012

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  • Michelle Claus (4/17/2014 4:18:00 PM)

    Like SNOW by Archibald Lampman, ABSENCES by Dom Moraes renders me solemn - in the way of truth, not mere sadness. Like a painter, Moraes imbues each line with crisp, dimensional description. I so admire his mastery of our language and the stark beauty of this poem.... the stromalites breathe... (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (4/17/2013 4:34:00 PM)

    Looks to be suitable for the present world to make a note of this poem! Wars are of no use as they have become old fashioned! (Report) Reply

  • Hardik Vaidya (4/17/2013 8:01:00 AM)

    I am awed, amazed, and so inspired to read this Masterpeice by Dom Moraes. The last two lines which are an epitome of the poem are also an epitome of perhaps the central seed of all human Philosphy. Individuality powers creativity and the difference stems from the absence of different strengths in each of us. A different way of saying presence of different strengths in each one of us. What a master craftsman. (Report) Reply

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