Humanist Voices in Verse: Cinema Paradiso

This week’s poem is by HNN’s Poetry Editor Daniel Thomas Moran. He is a retired dentist and Boston University Assistant Professor, former Poet Laureate of Suffolk County, New York and the author of seven collections of poetry. His seventh, A Shed for Wood is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in Ireland. He lives in Webster, New Hampshire with his wife, Karen, where he has taken on the role of Unemployed Poet and Anecdotalist.

If you’d like to contribute original poetry to Humanist Voices in Verse, write to with “Poetry” in the subject line.

Please send no more than three poems for consideration per week.

Cinema Paradiso
for Ashley

Flushed with the lights of
this silver-coated evening.

You, content and perfect within
the great cradle of my limbs.

Everything I
possess of worth.

I am holding you as an infant
again, preserving the secret truth.

How much my existence
depends upon you.

Allowing you to need
everything of me.

We share the soft joys
of a so sad film.

You, now of ten years, closer
to a woman than a babe.

The stuff of you, so much
longer and fuller than realized.

A silent singing in me,
to feel you weep at the melancholy.

Unable to ignore how unjustly soon,
my arms will be emptied of you.

The sacrifice of all this, to
other arms, other rooms.

You never noticed,
never turned to see all those

Great sadnesses of my life,
spill from my eyes as if weightless.

Me, the fool, believing
such moments are best unnoticed.

How, in this life,
no time can be spared.

To weep empty for what is gone,
what can never be.

The days take no pause.
Not even for little girls.

—Daniel Thomas Moran