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Poem (Remember midsummer: the fragrance of box)

by
 Remember midsummer: the fragrance of box, of white
 roses
And of phlox.
And upon a honeysuckle branch Three snails hanging with infinite delicacy -- Clinging like tendril, flake and thread, as self-tormented And self-delighted as any ballerina, just as in the orchard, Near the apple trees, in the over-grown grasses Drunken wasps clung to over-ripe pears Which had fallen: swollen and disfigured.
For now it is wholly autumn: in the late Afternoon as I walked toward the ridge where the hills begin, There is a whir, a thrashing in the bush, and a startled pheasant, flying out and up, Suddenly astonished me, breaking the waking dream.
Last night Snatches of sleep, streaked by dreams and half dreams - So that, aloft in the dim sky, for almost an hour, A sausage balloon - chalk-white and lifeless looking-- floated motionless Until, at midnight, I went to New Bedlam and saw what I feared the most - I heard nothing, but it had all happened several times elsewhere.
Now, in the cold glittering morning, shining at the window, The pears hang, yellowed and over-ripe, sodden brown in erratic places, all bunched and dangling, Like a small choir of bagpipes, silent and waiting.
And I rise now, Go to the window and gaze at the fallen or falling country -- And see! -- the fields are pencilled light brown or are the dark brownness of the last autumn -- So much has shrunken to straight brown lines, thin as the bare thin trees, Save where the cornstalks, white bones of the lost forever dead, Shrivelled and fallen, but shrill-voiced when the wind whistles, Are scattered like the long abandoned hopes and ambitions Of an adolescence which, for a very long time, has been merely A recurrent target and taunt of the inescapable mockery of memory.

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