Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good Day, Good Evening

It's night be the flame
And the red that colors the clouds
Good day sir Good evening madam
You don't look your age

What does it matter if your embraces
Make the twin stars bleed
What does it matter if your face is painted
if hoarfrost glitters on the branches

Of granite or marble
Your age will show
And the shade of the great trees
will walk on your graves.

Robert Desnos, "Good Day, Good Evening" translated by Amy Levin

A good day deserves a good evening, and the boundary between them is the sunset. Late afternoon sun illuminates the jonquil or daffodil (I can never remember what the difference is) but my enjoyment isn’t diminished because I can’t name this flower.

A good life deserves a good death – the kind of Happy Death French philosopher and novelist Albert Camus wrote of, where, at sunset, the sky splits open like an orange and the juice streams down one’s face.

Whether their grave is marked with moss-polished granite or frost-sparkling marble, gardeners probably sleep more peacefully in the ground they loved to cultivate than many others unfamiliar with the multitudes of life that lie beneath their feet. The light at the end of the day seems to me, to awaken awareness of all the gardeners that came before me and those who will follow.

I just planted my new Japanese Maple in the blue pot. It is “Sango Katu” and it has lovely red branches. It will be challenged to survive in this spot as the sun moves to higher latitudes. I can barely keep my two red maples alive beneath the shade cover. Even if it survives, it will never become the kind of great tree envisioned in the poem. But that doesn't matter. Whether a plot of earth houses a garden ripening with the possibilities of new life, or a grave where old life sleeps, moving shadows of great and small trees still walk across gardens and graves alike as the earth rolls beneath the sun.


kate said...

That is my favourite time of the day - late afternoon sun makes everything in the garden look more magical.

I hope your Japanese Maple survives and grows, even if slowly.

The Desnos poem was beautiful ... thank you.

I hope you are not feeling too many ill effects from your garden fall. Take care out there!!

Your comment about worms made me laugh ... I promise never to send you any worms!

janie said...

Beautiful poetry, love the image of the trees rambling across the garden albeit just their shadows.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Already planting trees. How nice. I must wait awhile before planting something. I like the poem too.

Martha in Michigan said...

Speaking of your death spot for trees, have you ever tried mimosa? They were my favorite tree in childhood, for their smooth bark, graceful branch structure, ferny pinnate leaves, and lovely flowers — but they won't survive here in Michigan. I wonder whether they would not do well in your climate, if watered occasionally.

Eid Sms said...

Really very cute the poem of Desnos..

Yoga workshops said...

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Ayurvedic Medicine said...

its really very sweet. thanks for this