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After Paradise

Don’t run any more. Quiet. How softly it rains
On the roofs of the city. How perfect
All things are. Now, for the two of you
Waking up in a royal bed by a garret window.
For a man and a woman. For one plant divided
Into masculine and feminine which longed for each other.
Yes, this is my gift to you. Above ashes
On a bitter, bitter earth. Above the subterranean
Echo of clamorings and vows. So that now at dawn
You must be attentive: the tilt of a head,
A hand with a comb, two faces in a mirror
Are only forever once, even if unremembered,
So that you watch what it is, though it fades away,
And are grateful every moment for your being.
Let that little park with greenish marble busts
In the pearl-gray light, under a summer drizzle,
Remain as it was when you opened the gate.
And the street of tall peeling porticos
Which this love of yours suddenly transformed.

–Czeslaw Milosz
Translated by the author and Robert Hass

An atmospheric and sensual poem for a snowy weekend when a languid, slow rising from bed was the most appropriate gesture.

I was caught by the image in the lines, “that little park with greenish marble busts/In the pearl-gray light, under a summer drizzle”. I know that climatic state, the clammy humidity that leaves every object damp, heavy and limp. Weather does inform the inner life, and these last winter snow storms that bring skies of diffused, angled light offer their own limpidity of an edge to the body and the soul. There’s viscerality in all of these extremes, from the sharp angles of winter light to the shimmer of a pearl-gray summer drizzle.

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