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NOTES FOR A "WEEK" British grown daffodik MONDAY Among the bending asphodels the blind are sleeping a crowd of blind people and the asphodels bend blackened by the hoarfrost of dawn. (I remember the paphiopedilums of another winter enclosed in the hothouse heat. Enough of life).* Their pillows, demolished instruments rickety phonographs harmonicas full of holes organs fallen to their knees; are they dead? You can't make out a motionless blind man easily. Sometimes their dreams come alive, that's why I say they're sleeping. All around on the houses, marble robes of angels beckon me the river doesn't roll, it has forgotten the sea and yet there is the sea and who will drain it dry?* The blind are sleeping, angels run naked in their veins they drink their blood and they make them prudent 81 and the heart with its terrible eyes calculates when it will run dry. I look at the river sudden light puffs of wind pass under the impotent sun nothing else, the river waits; pity those who wait. Nothing else; that's enough for today. [NOTE: The ellipses opposite indicate the omission of two poems, "Tuesday" and "Wednesday," which were part of the original manuscript but which were lost before the publication of Book of Exercises in 1940. The "Notes for a 'Week' " series was published in its complete form for the first time in 1968, in Milan, Italy (Scheiwiller—All'Insegna del Pesce D'oro) with the Greek original facing an Italian translation by Filippo Maria Pontani. The two missing poems have been included here in an appendix, pp. 253-59.] THURSDAY I saw her die many times sometimes crying in my arms sometimes in a stranger's arms sometimes alone, naked; so she lived near me. Now at last I know there's nothing further and I wait. If I'm sorry, it's a private matter like the feeling for things so simple that, as they say, one's passed beyond them; 82 and yet I'm sorry still because I too didn't become (as I would have wished) like the grass I heard sprouting one night near a pine-tree; because I didn't follow the sea another night when the waters were withdrawing gently drinking their own bitterness, and I didn't even understand, as I groped in the damp seaweed, how much honor remains in the hands of men. All this passed by slowly and conclusively like the barges with faded names: HELEN OF SPARTA, TYRANNUS, GLORIA MUNDI they passed under the bridges beyond the chimneys with two stooping men at the prow and stern naked to the waist; they passed, I can't distinguish anything, in the morning fog the sheep, curled, ruminating, barely stand out nor does the moon stand out above the waiting river; only seven lances plunged in the water stagnant, bloodless and sometimes on the flagstones, sadly lit under the squint-eyed castle, drawn with red and yellow pencil: the Nazarene, showing his wound. "Don't throw your heart to the dogs. Don't throw your heart to the dogs." Her voice sinks as the clock strikes; your will, I sought your will. 83 FRIDAY Since then how many times has there passed before me a woman with only her hair, eyes, and breasts left, nothing else—mermaid traveling the seas—and with the fresh air circulating between them like blue blood. SATURDAY —"I haven't forgotten anything, everything's in its place, arranged in order, waiting for the hand to choose; only I couldn't find the childhood years nor the place where the hero of the drama was born nor the first impressions those he recalls in the fifth act at the height of the disaster. All the rest, there it is, in order: the masks for the three main emotions and for the intermediary ones the pleated costumes ready to move, the curtains, the lights, Medea's slaughtered children, the poison and the knife. In that box there's life when it starts getting unbearable: if you put your ear close you'll hear it breathing;§4 make sure you don't open it before the Furies whistle. In that glass you'll find love of the body and in that other glass—the blue one—love of the soul: make sure you don't confuse them. And in that drawer is Nessus' shirt (Act Five, Scene Three); you remember the speech that begins: "Enough of...


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