Learn More

Navarre Scott Momaday

(February 27, 1934 / Lawton, Oklahoma)

Before an Old Painting of the Crucifixion


I ponder how He died, despairing once.
I've heard the cry subside in vacant skies,
In clearings where no other was. Despair,
Which, in the vibrant wake of utterance,
Resides in desolate calm, preoccupies,
Though it is still. There is no solace there.

That calm inhabits wilderness, the sea,
And where no peace inheres but solitude;
Near death it most impends. It was for Him,
Absurd and public in His agony,
Inscrutably itself, nor misconstrued,
Nor metaphrased in art or pseudonym:

A vague contagion. Old, the mural fades...
Reminded of the fainter sea I scanned,
I recollect: How mute in constancy!
I could not leave the wall of palisades
Till cormorants returned my eyes on land.
The mural but implies eternity:

Not death, but silence after death is change.
Judean hills, the endless afternoon,
The farther groves and arbors seasonless
But fix the mind within the moment's range.
Where evening would obscure our sorrow soon,
There shines too much a sterile loveliness.

No imprecisions of commingled shade,
No shimmering deceptions of the sun,
Herein no semblances remark the cold
Unhindered swell of time, for time is stayed.
The Passion wanes into oblivion,
And time and timelessness confuse, I'm told.

These centuries removed from either fact
Have lain upon the critical expanse
And been of little consequence. The void
Is calendared in stone; the human act,
Outrageous, is in vain. The hours advance
Like flecks of foam borne landward and destroyed.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: solitude, death, despair, sea, passion, sorrow, change, silence, peace, time, sun, sky

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Before an Old Painting of the Crucifixion by Navarre Scott Momaday )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 2 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. I Am the Only Being Whose Doom, Emily Jane Brontë
  6. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  7. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  8. Bluebird, Charles Bukowski
  9. Mother to Son, Langston Hughes
  10. No Man Is An Island, John Donne

Poem of the Day

poet Emily Jane Brontë

I am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask no eye would mourn
I never caused a thought of gloom
A smile of joy since I was born

In secret pleasure - secret tears
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Autumn, Leong Ming Loong
  2. Colors, Tom Squires
  3. वक्त का तकाजा है vakt ka takaaja hai, hasmukh amathalal
  4. A Lesson Learnt, Leong Ming Loong
  5. Pleasantries (Ghazal), Akhtar Jawad
  6. In love power, hasmukh amathalal
  7. Arrivals, Maylee Bossy
  8. Companionship, Leong Ming Loong
  9. Remain helpless, hasmukh amathalal
  10. A MINER'S DESTINY, Randy McClave
[Hata Bildir]