Neil Ellman

Slowly Toward the North

(after the painting by Yves Tanguy)

We turned
slowly toward the north
where auroras grow
like ghosts of snow
haunt dreams and memories
we turned
to a compass point
where nothing ages
the sky glows
in dancing waves
we watched as the north
caught fire
seeing eternity
in glacial flows
from a pyre of ice
we slowly turned
to see our destiny.

the eternal silence of these infinite
spaces frightens me

(after the drawing by Odilon Redon)

something must
in the motion of the stars
there must be music, words
there must be
more than silence
it frightens me
the terror in my ears
no answers, no grace
no echo of my screams
only the torment
of an infinite sky
emptiness oppresses me
alone I fear
the universe
is silent just for me.

Twice nominated for Best of the Net, as well as for the Rhysling Prize from the Science Fiction Poetry Association, Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey. More than 700 of his poems, many of which are ekphrastic and based on works of modern art, appear in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world.
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