Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Anthony Hecht

Outside is variable May, a lawn of immediate green,
The tree as blue as its shadow.
A shutter angles out in charitable shade.
It is a world of yearning: we yearn for it,
Its youthful natives yearn for one another.
Their flesh as firm as a plum, their smooth tanned waists,
Lit through the fluttered leaves above their heads,
Are rubbed and cinctured with this morning’s bangles.
Yet each, if we but take thought, is a lean gnomon,
A bone finger with its moral point:
The hour, the minute, the dissolving pleasure.
(Light fails, the shadows pool themselves in hollows.)
Here, in the stifling fragrance of mock orange,
In the casual glance, the bright lust of the eye,
Lies the hot spring of inevitable tears.
Within is the cool blue perfect cube of thought.
The branched spirea carefully arranged
Is no longer random growth: it now becomes
The object of our thought, it becomes our thought.
The room is a retreat in which the drone
Of the electric fan is modest, unassertive,
Faithful, as with a promise of lemonade
And other gentle solaces of summer,
Among which, for the two serene young girls
In this cool tank of blue is an open book
Where they behold the pure unchanging text
Of manifold, reverberating depth,
Quiet and tearless in its permanence.
Deep in their contemplation the two girls,
Regarding art, have become art themselves.
Once out of nature, they have settled here
In this blue room of thought, beyond the reach
Of the small brief sad ambitions of the flesh.


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