Annabelle Moseley is an award-winning American poet and writer, born and raised on the North Shore of Long Island. Author of nine books, first Walt Whitman Birthplace Writer-in-Residence, and 2014 Long Island Poet of the Year, Moseley is a Lecturer at St. Joseph’s College in New York. Her newest collection is a double volume of poetry: A Ship to Hold The World and The Marionette’s Ascent.
Artifacts of Sound
I brush back the earth from these words
that surface from the ground of me
with unexpected tile and bone—
bits of loam still clinging to the poems
that wait to form.
Newborn as a fossil, handed down,
this waiting skeleton of sounds.
I loom above them, the archaeologist—
working sometimes with a shovel—
then a trowel, or a brush.
This time, what the dig reveals
are terms like scale and tone and chord.
I hear them the moment I sweep back
the last layer of dust from this soul’s trench.
It is all the music my ear has held within its arc—
the flow of flutes, the rush of violins—
guitar trills, drum’s pulse, piano’s flight.
It is the rock, baroque, and classic piece—
the horn, the hum, the cry, the shift, the drone—
with artifacts of cadence in between.
The still-life is an art unto itself:
how to arrange bruised fruit, flowers and vase
in complementary patterns on the shelf
where they’ll be studied. There are countless ways
to drape a sheet behind the objects, turn
the light to catch a shadow. Even though
you have passed on, there is still life. I learn
from your best teachings, watch each image grow
in depth and value. I arrange, alone,
the allegory I will paint: a leaf,
a watch, an empty glass, other things known
as relics of impermanence. Relief
between these brush strokes is a bitter bliss:
Your stilled life shook us all— your work persists.