Cambridge Book Review

[Issue #2, Spring & Summer 1998]

Canto 21 Let no voices

R. Virgil Ellis

Let no voices beyond then sing
when the song sings of its own song
or the words fly off on their own

sing them into emptiness
which is the fullness of no song at all

words drift in and out of this calm
where their use is as arbitrary as happiness
without reference to levels of sense
charmed into being at the edge of perception

a silken mathematical web rising in nothingness
and then sinking in glowing liquid syllables
as might be sung on a night when all contending
frames of reference are an equation of the moon

a song then so lost in its own remoteness
against the clamor of the hunger of sense
that the moon is the merest fantasy
and every vision provisional
when the song sings of its own song

before being anyone's song and dance
before being an arrangement of a dance tune
words drifting where there are no ideas
words without a song that are still sung

in and out of this calm

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