japonisme: falls apart in the perfume

22 April 2011

falls apart in the perfume


Hear me a moment. Laureate poets
seem to wander among plants
no one knows: boxwood, acanthus,
where nothing is alive to touch.

I prefer small streets that falter
into grassy ditches where a boy,
searching in the sinking puddles,
might capture a struggling eel.

The little path that winds down
along the slope plunges
through cane-tufts
and opens suddenly
into the orchard
among the moss-green trunks
of the lemon trees.

Perhaps it is better
if the jubilee of small birds
dies down, swallowed in the sky,
yet more real to one who listens,
the murmur of tender leaves
in a breathless, unmoving air.

The senses are graced with an odor
filled with the earth.
It is like rain in a troubled breast,
sweet as an air that arrives
too suddenly and vanishes.

A miracle is hushed; all passions
are swept aside. Even the poor
know that richness,
the fragrance of the lemon trees.

You realize that in silences
things yield and almost betray
their ultimate secrets.

At times, one half expects
to discover an error in Nature,
the still point of reality,
the missing link
that will not hold,
the thread we cannot untangle
in order to get at the truth.

You look around. Your mind seeks,
makes harmonies, falls apart
in the perfume, expands
when the day wearies away.
There are silences in which one watches
in every fading human shadow
something divine let go.

The illusion wanes,
and in time we return
to our noisy cities where the blue
appears only in fragments
high up
among the towering shapes.
Then rain leaching the earth.
winter burdens the roofs,
and light is a miser, the soul bitter.

Yet, one day
through an open gate,
among the green luxuriance
of a yard,
the yellow lemons fire
and the heart melts,
and golden songs pour
into the breast
from the raised cornets of the sun.

Eugenio Montale

translated by Lee Gerlach

Copyright © 2002, 2004 Harry Thomas, Handsel Books (an imprint of Other Press LLC).

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Blogger Alika said...

What a beautiful,beautiful poem!
I remember that feeling - when I lived in a big city and saw blue only in small patches between the tall buildings.

Love the picture with yellow poppies with the stylized round flower on the right!

Thanks for sharing this.

23 April, 2011 00:38  
Blogger Gerrie said...

what a perfect way to start this yellow golden sunny Easter weekend.

23 April, 2011 02:05  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you so much for your comments, alika & gerrie.

i realize that frequently i use the synergy of a post to say something about what i've been thinking or feeling, without spelling it out. here, ephemeralness, as it has been.

but for me, on a whole new level; that the melting of amelie seems more true of life as we notice it than do the images before or after.

so's true of every fact or truth or certainty you could name.

and yet how sweet, also, what you two bring.

23 April, 2011 07:35  
Blogger Amanda said...

Hello, who did that last sunflower print? I would really like to know which artist is responsible! Thank you!

23 February, 2012 14:37  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i just tried to research it, amanda, and couldn't figure it out. it's from a japanese collection of flower drawings, something many artists in japan did.

23 February, 2012 17:34  

Post a Comment

hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

<< Home

newer posts older posts