Franz Kafka

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Monday, January 27, 2020

"July and the Night," a Poem from "Jersey Blues: Selected Poems"

 

 July and the Night


I breathe Turgenev -
"... In the pure dry air there is a scent
of wormwood, rye in blossom, and buckwheat;
even an hour before nightfall there is no moisture
in the air. It is for such weather that the farmer 
longs, for harvesting his wheat..."

The end of a glorious July day.
In the secretive orchard of my ancestors,
Crouched at the foot of a scrawny, old pear tree,
I recollected all my past, long gone Summers,
And wondered how long the tree had been standing;
It had always yielded small, pale-green pears:
Sour when firm in the prime time of Summer,
Then sweet and juicy, when full and ripe.
Grandfather must had planted it, before my days;
No special care or attention was required from us,
For the trunk was joined to the land,
His tree drew moisture from the rainfall,
And was married to the sun.
When I was little I used to climb
Upon the lower, slender branches,
For I wouldn't venture any higher.
My being brimmed over with tenderness...
The crickets chirped their laborious love songs,
And bats flitted around the tree tops, against the blue.
Hovering in the fresh breeze, I smelled the odorous youth,
That once ran through my weary limbs.
Across the magnificent hour-glass of the terse sky,
The night shadows advanced rapidly on the blackening earth.
I chilled: the pitch-dark night was an hypothesis,
The dream-like sentry to my besieged, solitary fortress.
As the night fell upon me, I closed my eyes
And felt merriment all around.
I thought to myself that,  although we took no heed,
While the tree lived, I too lived, and saw a bit of the world.
The orchard was whispering mysteriously, and in the nearby
Gardens the flowers had closed their corollas, seeking rest.
As the tide of memories ebbed, my existence receded too;
I quivered in fright: it was a nook that a soul
May never let go of lightheartedly. 

From "Jersey Blues: Selected Poems", also available on iBookstore, NOOK Book, and Amazon Kindle

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