Capriccio of Roman Ruins

Original Text: 
Signs and Certainties (Montreal: Villaneuve, 1979). PS 8576 .074 .S5 Robarts Library
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. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

<b>This poem cannot be published anywhere without the written consent of Albert Frank Moritz or the Villaneuve permissions department.</b>