Full-leafed summer here on the Conestoga River in Southern Ontario is now, in the dog days of August, only a stone’s throw away from autumn. Before it’s gone again, for another year, here’s a few words about high summer and another passing year, from 20th Century American poet and short story writer, Delmore Schwartz. 

The Deceptive Present, the Phoenix Year

As I looked, the poplar rose in the shining air

Like a slender throat,

And there was an exaltation of flowers,

The surf of apple tree delicately foaming.

All winter, the trees had been

Silent soldiers, a vigil of woods,

Their hidden feelings

Scrawled and became

Scores of black vines,

Barbed wire sharp against the ice-white sky.

Who could believe then

In the green, glittering vividness of full-leafed summer?

Who will be able to believe, when winter again begins

After the autumn burns down again, and the day is ashen,

And all returns to winter and winter’s ashes,

Wet, white, ice, wooden, dulled and dead, brittle or frozen,

Who will believe or feel in the mind and heart

The reality of spring and of birth,

In the green warm opulence of summer, and the inexhaustible vitality

and immortality of the earth?

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  • Copyright © 2011-16, Dianne Ebertt Beeaff. All Rights Reserved.
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