Navarre Scott Momaday
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.
Navarre Scott Momaday's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Before an Old Painting of the Crucifixion by Navarre Scott Momaday )
- Never Let Anything Go, Tony Adah
- How Can I Forget You, Akhtar Jawad
- The Music Of The Prayer, Shalom Freedman
- Mere Maula, Mere Maula, Rakesh Sinha
- Fact, Somanathan Iyer
- missing my son, jaquesha webb
- Love is tolerance, Somanathan Iyer
- Flattered lives, Somanathan Iyer
- Live Paintings, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Colorless Light, Sandra Feldman
Poem of the Day
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- The Art of Disappearing, Naomi Shihab Nye
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Being With You, Heather Burns
- Friends Departed, Henry Vaughan
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
- Heather Burns
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
Udiah (witness to Yah)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)