A Word for Summer
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A WORD FOR SUMMER We've returned to autumn again; summer, like an exercise book we're tired of writing in, remains full of deletions, abstract designs, question marks in the margin; we've returned to the season of eyes gazing into the mirror under the electric light closed lips and people strangers in rooms in streets under the pepper-trees while the headlights of cars massacre thousands of pale masks. We've returned; we always set out to return to solitude, a fistful of earth, to the empty hands. And yet I used to love Syngrou Avenue* the double rise and fall of the great road bringing us out miraculously to the sea the eternal sea, to cleanse us of our sins; I used to love certain unknown people met suddenly at the end of day talking to themselves like captains of a sunken armada, evidence that the world is large. And yet I used to love these roads here, these columns, even though I was born on the other shore, close to reeds and rushes, islands 88 where water gushed from the sand to quench the thirst of a rower, even though I was born close to the sea that I unwind and wind on my fingers when Fm tired—I no longer know where I was born. There still remains the yellow essence, summer, and your hands touching medusas on the water your eyes suddenly open, the first eyes of the world, and the sea caves: feet naked on the red soil. There still remains the blond marble youth, summer, a little salt dried in the rock's hollow a few pine needles after the rain scattered and red like broken nets. I don't understand these faces I don't understand them, sometimes they imitate death and then again they gleam with the low life of a glow-worm with a limited effort, hopeless, squeezed between two wrinkles, between two stained cafέ tables; they kill one another, grow smaller, stick like postage stamps to window panes— the faces of the other tribe. We walked together, shared bread and sleep tasted the same bitterness of parting built our houses with what stones we had set out in ships, knew exile, returned 89 found our women waiting— they scarcely knew us, no one knows us. And the companions wore statues, wore the naked empty chairs of autumn, and the companions destroyed their own faces: I don't understand them. There still remains the yellow desert, summer, waves of sand receding to the final circle a drum's beat, merciless, endless, flaming eyes sinking into the sun hands in the manner of birds cutting the sky saluting ranks of the dead who stand at attention hands lost at a point beyond my control and mastering me: your hands touching the free wave. Autumn, 1936 90 ...


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