[lit-ideas] THREE FOR THEE

  • From: Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2010 18:04:07 -0600


Inside the fog that encloses the trees, they undergo the robbing of their
leaves...Thrown into confusion by a slow oxidation, and humilated by the
sap's withdrawal for the sake of the flowers and fruits, the leaves,
following the hot spells of August, cling less anyway.
     The up- and-down tunnels inside the bark deepen, and guide the moisture
down to earth so as to break off wieh the animated parts of the tree.
     The flowers are scattered, the fruits taken away.  This giving up of
their more animated parts, and even of parts of their body, has become,
since their earliest days, a familiar practice for trees.

                            ----- Francis Ponge  (trans. Robert Bly)


     What fall amounts to is really a cold infusion.  The dead leaves of all
herb species steep in the rain.  But no fermenting goes on, no
alcohol-making: one has to wait until spring to see the effect a  compress
has when applied to a wooden leg.
     The counting of votes goes on chaotically.  All the doors of the
polling places fly open and slam shut.  Into the wastebasket!  Into the
wastebasket!  Nature rips up her manuscripts, tears down her bookcases,
knocks down the last fruits with long poles.
     Then she rises crisply from her work table.  Her height all at once
seems unusual.  Her hair undone, she has her head in the fog.  Arms loose,
she breathes in with ecstasy the icy wind that makes all her ideas clear.
The days are short, the night falls swiftly, who needs comedy.
     Earth floating among the other planets regains her serious look.  Her
sunlit side is smaller, invaded by clefts of shadow.  Her shoes, like a
hobo's, are great withj water, and a source of music.
     Inside this frogpond, or energetic amphibiousness, everything regains
strength, hops from stone to stone, tries a new field.  Streams increase.
     Here you see what is called a real soaking, a cleaning that cares
nothing for respectability!  Dressed as a naked man, soaked to the bone.
     And it goes on, doesn't get dry right away.  Theree months of healthy
reflecting goes on in this state; without any circulatory disaster, without
bathrobe, without horsehair glove.  But her strong constitution can take it.

     And so, when the tiny buds begin to point, they know what their source
is and what is going on -- and if they come out hesitatingly, numb and
flushed, it is in full knowledge of why.

                               ---- Francis Ponge  (trans. Robert Bly)


In June, my ear against an oak,
You asked what I was doing.
"Listening to the sap rise," I said.
You laughed.  I laughed
We both laughed through that
whole leaf dancing summer.

In September, I touched you
and you looked away.
I heard the leaves die.

       --------- Mike Geary (trans.Mike Geary)

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