Saturday, August 3, 2013


after Montale

You lie through midday in the shade
of a sun-baked garden wall, pale,
absorbed by the crackle of blackbirds, the rustle
of snakes in the dry sticks and thorns;

you try to decipher the red lines of ants that scrawl
through the climbing plants, down through the ruts
of the scorched ground, to break and braid
and break again over the tops of their little mounds;

you might see, through the leaves, the distant pulse
of the sea, the distinct green scales of the waves,
while the churning of cicadas rises,
chiding and fricative, up from the empty heights.

And then you will walk, sun-blinded,
into the slow and bitter understanding
that all this life and all its heart-sick wonder
is just the following of a wall
ridged with bright shards of broken glass.

Robin Robertson

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