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from the November/December 2003 issue

Trees VI

Neither with paint, nor with a brush.
Light is his kingdom: his hair is gray.
The red leaves tell lies.
Here light tramples color.

Color is trampled by light.
The heel of light crushes the chest of color.
Isn't it in this, in this--
The secret, the strength, the purpose

Of the autumn woods?
As if a curtain
Over a quiet backwater of days
Has been torn--and, following it, sternly . . .

As if one envisions one's son
Through the chasubles of partings . . .
Words: Palestine
And Elysium suddenly come to mind . . .

The streaming . . . The transparency . . .
Through the fine binding of tremblings--
Light, more blissful than death . . .
And the bonds dissolve . . .
Autumnal grayness!
You, Goethe's apotheosis!
Much has been sung here
And yet, more's been unwoven.

Thus gray hair shines:
The ancient heads of the family
See the last son off,
The very last of the seven

Through the last door--
With the luminescence of outstretched arms . . .
(I don't trust color!
Here red is the worst of servants!)

No longer--light:

Shining with a strange luminescence . . .
Isn't it in this, in
This . . . and the bonds dissolve.
So the deserts shine.
And having said more than I could:
The sands of Palestine,
The domes of Elysium . . .

October 8-9, 1922
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