There is always adolescence and nothing else at dusk.
When the soft bend in the evening insinuates its desolate curve, something within us also bends over. We have very few things then, no possession accompanies us, no possession offends us either. There is a slow disaster in these hours that seem the only ones in the day, those which leave us in the old limits, those that cannot give us anything, those of which we do not ask anything. There is a tender and decomposing disaster in the final hours of this day that has gone by like the others, and, just like them, it has reached the burning beauty of that which gazes upon nothingness. Leaning over my windowsill I see how a section of time slides by; evening has softly embalmed the street’s noisy happenings, the sky is shrinking little by little and a burst of patience wraps the world in soft, ashy hugs.
While the night opens up on the corners, the moon sets in strange flowers.
Ten o'clock: the broken moon Hangs not yet a half hour high, Yellow as a shield of brass, In the dewy air of June, Poised between the vaulted sky And the ocean's liquid glass.
Earth lies in the shadow still; Low black bushes, trees, and lawn Night's ambrosial dews absorb; Through the foliage creeps a thrill, Whispering of yon spectral dawn And the hidden climbing orb.
Higher, higher, gathering light, Veiling with a golden gauze All the trembling atmosphere, See, the rayless disk grows white! Hark, the glittering billows pause!
Faint, far sounds possess the ear. Elves on such a night as this Spin their rings upon the grass; On the beach the water-fay Greets her lover with a kiss; Through the air swift spirits pass, Laugh, caress, and float away.
Shut thy lids and thou shalt see Angel faces wreathed with light, Mystic forms long vanished hence. Ah, too fine, too rare, they be For the grosser mortal sight, And they foil our waking sense.
Yet we feel them floating near, Know that we are not alone, Though our open eyes behold Nothing save the moon's bright sphere, In the vacant heavens shown, And the ocean's path of gold.
This morning two mockingbirds in the green field were spinning and tossing the white ribbons of their songs into the air. I had nothing better to do than listen. I mean this seriously.
In Greece, a long time ago, an old couple opened their door to two strangers who were, it soon appeared, not men at all, but gods. It is my favorite story-- how the old couple had almost nothing to give but their willingness to be attentive-- but for this alone the gods loved them and blessed them-- when they rose out of their mortal bodies, like a million particles of water from a fountain, the light swept into all the corners of the cottage, and the old couple, shaken with understanding, bowed down-- but still they asked for nothing but the difficult life which they had already. And the gods smiled, as they vanished, clapping their great wings.
Wherever it was I was supposed to be this morning-- whatever it was I said I would be doing-- I was standing at the edge of the field-- I was hurrying through my own soul, opening its dark doors-- I was leaning out; I was listening.
"Minor has turned to major
As summer, lulling and so mild,
Summer has come upon us early here! 'Minor has turned to major' - indeed!
Summer Music - May Sarton
Summer is all a green air—
From the brilliant lawn, sopranos
Through murmuring hedges
Accompanied by some poplars;
In fields of wheat, surprises;
Through faraway pastures, flows
To the horizon's blues
In slow decrescendos.
Summer is all a green sound—
Rippling in the foreground
To that soft applause,
The foam of Queen Anne's lace.
Green, green in the ear
Is all we care to hear—
Until a field suddenly flashes
The singing with so sharp
A yellow that it crashes
Loud cymbals in the ear,
Minor has turned to major
As summer, lulling and so mild,
"it’s the greening of the trees that really gets to me..."
I love seeing the trees in leaf again! There is something so hopeful about all that green growth.
Instructions on Not Giving Up - Ada Limón More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees that really gets to me. When all the shock of white and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath, the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin growing over whatever winter did to us, a return to the strange idea of continuous living despite the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then, I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.
My Name - Mark Strand Once when the lawn was a golden green and the marbled moonlit trees rose like fresh memorials in the scented air, and the whole countryside pulsed with the chirr and murmur of insects, I lay in the grass, feeling the great distances open above me, and wondered what I would become and where I would find myself, and though I barely existed, I felt for an instant that the vast star-clustered sky was mine, and I heard my name as if for the first time, heard it the way one hears the wind or the rain, but faint and far off as though it belonged not to me but to the silence from which it had come and to which it would go.
The city's all a-shining
Beneath a fickle sun,
A gay young wind's a-blowing,
The little shower is done.
But the rain-drops still are clinging
And falling one by one -
Oh it's Paris, it's Paris,
And spring-time has begun.
I know the Bois is twinkling
In a sort of hazy sheen,
And down the Champs the gray old arch
Stands cold and still between.
But the walk is flecked with sunlight
Where the great acacias lean,
Oh it's Paris, it's Paris,
And the leaves are growing green.
The sun's gone in, the sparkle's dead,
There falls a dash of rain,
But who would care when such an air
Comes blowing up the Seine?
And still Ninette sits sewing
Beside her window-pane,
When it's Paris, it's Paris,
And spring-time's come again.
There Are No Boring People in This World - Yevgeny Yevtushenko There are no boring people in this world. Each fate is like the history of a planet. And no two planets are alike at all. Each is distinct – you simply can’t compare it. If someone lived without attracting notice and made a friend of their obscurity – then their uniqueness was precisely this. Their very plainness made them interesting. Each person has a world that’s all their own. Each of those worlds must have its finest moment and each must have its hour of bitter torment – and yet, to us, both hours remain unknown. When people die, they do not die alone. They die along with their first kiss, first combat. They take away their first day in the snow … All gone, all gone – there’s just no way to stop it. There may be much that’s fated to remain, but something – something leaves us all the same. The rules are cruel, the game nightmarish – it isn’t people but whole worlds that perish.
This is a very long poem, but worth the reading for Wordsworth's swooning descriptions of May.
To May - William Wordsworth Though many suns have risen and set Since thou, blithe May, wert born, And Bards, who hailed thee, may forget Thy gift, thy beauty scorn; There are who to a birthday strain Confine not harp and voice, But evermore throughout thy reign Are grateful and rejoice!
Delicious odor! music sweet, Too sweet to pass away! Oh for a deathless song to meet The soul's desire---a lay That, when a thousand year are told, Should praise thee, genial Power! Through summer heat, autumnal cold, And winter's dreariest hour.
Earth, sea, thy presence feel - less, If yon ethereal blue With its soft smile the truth express, The heavens have felt it too. The inmost heart of man if glad Partakes a livelier cheer; And eye that cannot but be sad Let fall a brightened tear.
Since thy return, through days and weeks Of hope that grew by stealth, How many wan and faded cheeks Have kindled into health! The Old, by thee revived, have said, 'Another year is ours;' And wayworn Wanderers, poorly fed, Have smiled upon thy flowers.
Who tripping lisps a merry song Amid his playful peers? The tender Infant who was long A prisoner of fond fears; But now, when every sharp-edged blast Is quiet in its sheath, His Mother leaves him free to taste Earth's sweetness in thy breath.
Thy help is with the weed that creeps Along the humblest ground; No cliff so bare but on its steeps Thy favors may be found; But most on some peculiar nook That our own hands have drest, Thou and thy train are proud to look, And seem to love it best.
And yet how pleased we wander forth When May is whispering, 'Come! 'Choose from the bowers of virgin earth The happiest for your home; Heaven's bounteous love through me is spread From sunshine, clouds, winds, waves, Drops on the mouldering turret's head, And on your turf-clad graves!'
Such greeting heard, away with sighs For lilies that must fade, Or ' the rathe primrose as it dies Forsaken' in the shade! Vernal fruitions and desires Are linked in endless chase; While, as one kindly growth retires, Another takes its place.
And what if thou, sweet May, hast known Mishap by worm and blight; If expectations newly blown Have perished in thy sight; If loves and joys, while up they sprung, Were caught as in a snare; Such is the lot of all the young, However bright and fair.
Lo! Streams that April could not check Are patient of thy rule; Gurgling in foamy water-break, Loitering in glassy pool: By thee, thee only, could be sent Such gentle mists as glide, Curling with unconfirmed intent, On that green mountain's side.
How delicate the leafy veil Through which yon house of God Gleams 'mid the peace of this deep dale By few but shepherds trod! And lowly huts, near beaten ways, No sooner stand attired In thy fresh wreaths, than they for praise Peep forth, and are admired.
Season of fancy and of hope, Permit not for one hour, A blossom from thy crown to drop, Nor add to it a flower! Keep, lovely May, as if by touch Of self restraining art, This modest charm of not too much, Part seen, imagined part!
The story of the end, of the last word
of the end, when told, is a story that never ends.
We tell it and retell it — one word, then another
until it seems that no last word is possible,
that none would be bearable. Thus, when the hero
of the story says to himself, as to someone far away,
‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do,’
we may feel that he is pleading for us, that we are
the secret life of the story and, as long as his plea
is not answered, we shall be spared. So the story
continues. So we continue. And the end, once more,
becomes the next, and the next after that.
There is an island in the dark, a dreamt-of place
where the muttering wind shifts over the white lawns
and riffles the leaves of trees, the high trees
that are streaked with gold and line the walkways there;
and those already arrived are happy to be the silken
remains of something they were but cannot recall;
they move to the sound of stars, which is also imagined,
but who cares about that; the polished columns they see
may be no more than shafts of sunlight, but for those
who live on and on in the radiance of their remains
this is of little importance. There is an island
in the dark and you will be there, I promise you, you
shall be with me in paradise, in the single season of being,
in the place of forever, you shall find yourself. And there
the leaves will turn and never fall, there the wind
will sing and be your voice as if for the first time.
Someday some one will write a story set
in a place called The Skull, and it will tell,
among other things, of a parting between mother
and son, of how she wandered off, of how he vanished
in air. But before that happens, it will describe
how their faces shone with a feeble light and how
the son was moved to say, ‘Woman, look at your son,’
then to a friend nearby, ‘Son, look at your mother.’
At which point the writer will put down his pen
and imagine that while those words were spoken
something else happened, something unusual like
a purpose revealed, a secret exchanged, a truth
to which they, the mother and son, would be bound,
but what it was no one would know. Not even the writer.
These are the days when the sky is filled with
the odor of lilac, when darkness becomes desire,
when there is nothing that does not wish to be born.
These are the days of spring when the fate
of the present is a breezy fullness, when the world’s
great gift for fiction gilds even the dirt we walk on.
On such days we feel we could live forever, yet all
the while we know we cannot. This is the doubleness
in which we dwell. The great master of weather
and everything else, if he wishes, can bring forth
a dark of a different kind, one hidden by darkness
so deep it cannot be seen. No one escapes.
Not even the man who saved others, and believed
he was the chosen son. When the dark came down
even he cried out, ‘Father, father, why have you
forsaken me?’ But to his words no answer came.
To be thirsty. To say, ‘I thirst.’ To be given,
instead of water, vinegar, and that to be pressed
from a sponge. To close one’s eyes and see the giant
world that is born each time the eyes are closed.
To see one’s death. To see the darkening clouds
as the tragic cloth of a day of mourning. To be the one
mourned. To open the dictionary of the Beyond and discover
what one suspected, that the only word in it
is nothing. To try to open one’s eyes, but not to be
able to. To feel the mouth burn. To feel the sudden
presence of what, again and again, was not said.
To translate it and have it remain unsaid. To know
at last that nothing is more real than nothing.
‘It is finished,’ he said. You could hear him say it,
the words almost a whisper, then not even that,
but an echo so faint it seemed no longer to come
from him, but from elsewhere. This was his moment,
his final moment. “It is finished,” he said into a vastness
that led to an even greater vastness, and yet all of it
within him. He contained it all. That was the miracle,
to be both large and small in the same instant, to be
like us, but more so, then finally to give up the ghost,
which is what happened. And from the storm that swirled
a formal nakedness took shape, the truth of disguise
and the mask of belief were joined forever.
Back down these stairs to the same scene,
to the moon, the stars, the night wind. Hours pass
and only the harp off in the distance and the wind
moving through it. And soon the sun’s gray disk,
darkened by clouds, sailing above. And beyond,
as always, the sea of endless transparence, of utmost
calm, a place of constant beginning that has within it
what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand
has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart.
To that place, to the keeper of that place, I commit myself.
I was tired,
half sleeping in the sun.
A single bee
delved the lavender nearby,
and beyond the fence,
a trowel's shoulder knocked a white stone.
Soon, the ringing stopped.
And from somewhere,
a quiet voice said the one word.
Surely a command,
though it seemed more a question,
a wondering perhaps—"What about joy?"
So long it had been forgotten,
even the thought raised surprise.
But however briefly, there,
in the untuned devotions of bee
and the lavender fragrance,
the murmur of better and worse was unimportant.
From next door, the sound of raking,
and neither courage nor cowardice mattered.
Soon enough that gate swung closed,
the world turned back to heart-salt
of wanting, heart-salts of will and grief.
My friend would continue dying, at last
only exhausted, even his wrists thinned with pain.
The river Suffering would take what it
wished of him, then go. And I would stay
and drink on, as the living do, until the rest
would enter into that water—the lavender swept in,
the bee, the swallowed labors of my neighbor.
The ordinary moment swept in, whatever it drowsily holds.
I begin to believe the only sin is distance, refusal.
All others stemming from this. Then, come.
Rivers, come. Irrevocable futures, come. Come even joy.
Even now, even here, and though it vanish like him.
If you had come away with me
into another state
we had been quiet together.
But there the sun coming up
out of the nothing beyond the lake was
too low in the sky,
there was too great a pushing
too much of sumac buds, pink
in the head
with the clear gum upon them,
too many opening hearts of lilac leaves,
too many, too many swollen
limp poplar tassels on the
It was too strong in the air.
I had no rest against that
The pounding of the hoofs on the
stayed with me half through the night.
I awoke smiling but tired.