End of Autumn...Francis Ponge
A naked chestnut tree that I saw this afternoon on a walk in Zalla.
It has been one of the wettest autumns I can remember. Everyday it rains. I miss the sunlight. And nothing moves me more than those sharp sunny days of autumn with a light full of contrast and clarity. I am posting here The end of autumn by Francis Ponge. He knew how to approach the things of this world, disecting them and opening them up into new configurations, making us see things afresh:
The End Of Autumn
All of autumn, in the end, is nothing but a cold infusion. Dead leaves of every sort steep in the rain. No fermentation, no production of alcohol: we’ll have to wait until spring to judge the effects of a cold compress on a wooden leg.
Sorting the ballots is a disorderly procedure. All the doors of the polling place slam open and shut. Throw it out! Throw it all out! Nature rips up her manuscripts, demolishes her bookshelves furiously clubs down her last fruit.
Then she abruptly gets up from her work table. She suddenly seems immense: hatless, head in the fog. Swinging her arms, she rapturously breathes in the icy, intellectually clarifying wind. Days are short, night falls fast; there’s no time for comedy.
The earth, in the stratosphere with the other heavenly bodies, looks serious again. The lit up part is narrower, encroached on by valleys of shadow. Its shoes, like tramp’s, soak up water and make music.
In this frog-farm, this salubrious amphibiguity, everything regains strength, leaps from stone to stone, changes pasture. Streams proliferate.
This is what’s called a good clean-up, with no respect for convention! Dressed or naked, soaked to the marrow.
And it doesn’t dry up right away, it goes on and on. Three months of salutary reflection with no bathrobe, or loofah, no vascular reaction. But its sturdy constitution resists.
So, when the little buds begin to jut out, they know what they’re doing, what it’s all about. That’s why they come out so cautiously, red-faced, benumbed, they know what lies ahead.
But thereby hangs another tale, perhaps from the black rule, though it smells different, I’ll now use to draw the line under this one.
Translated from French by C.K. Williams in Francis Ponge – Selected Poems.
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