After the Persian
I do not wish to know
The depths of your terrible jungle:
From what nest your leopard leaps
Or what sterile lianas are at once your serpents' disguise
I am the dweller on the temperate threshold,
The strip of corn and vine,
Where all is translucence (the light!)
Liquidity, and the sound of water.
Here the days pass under shade
And the nights have the waxing and the waning moon.
Here the moths take flight at evening;
Here at morning the dove whistles and the pigeons coo.
Here, as night comes on, the fireflies wink and snap
Close to the cool ground,
Shining in a profusion
Celestial or marine.
Here it is never wholly dark but always wholly green,
And the day stains with what seems to be more than the
What may be more than my flesh.
I have wept with the spring storm;
Burned with the brutal summer.
Now, hearing the wind and the twanging bow-strings,
I know what winter brings.
The hunt sweeps out upon the plain
And the garden darkens.
They will bring the trophies home
To bleed and perish
Beside the trellis and the lattices,
Beside the fountain, still flinging diamond water,
Beside the pool
(Which is eight-sided, like my heart).
All has been translated into treasure:
Weightless as amber,
Translucent as the currant on the branch,
Dark as the rose's thorn.
Where is the shimmer of evil?
This is the shell's iridescence
And the wild bird's wing.
Ignorant, I took up my burden in the wilderness.
Wise with great wisdom, I shall lay it down upon flowers.
There was so much to love, I could not love it all;
I could not love it enough.
Some things I overlooked, and some I could not find.
Let the crystal clasp them
When you drink your wine, in autumn.