The Persimmon Bough

(from Night of a Thousand Blossoms)

And now it’s the night of the weeping persimmon, night of the lights
in the sky, both the stars and the airplanes, night of the beautiful
siren and the dog so far away he sounds like the dog in the moon.
And here is the complacent toad and the ungloved bat—they are
coming to take the high road.  And here is the porch lamp gleaming just
bright enough to cast shadows on the grass—it is showing the way.
And here is the little black bound notebook, eating its words.  They are
delicious and please the tongue and try to seduce the world, and then the
world trips away singing its song, and I follow after it even as it becomes
the trees and the houses and the rustling leaves again.  I admit it— I love
my earth in this fashion.  Everything I need is at hand.  If a poem
says kiss, then I kiss.  If a poem says weep, then I weep.  If I must put
my heart away,  I put it away in the night where I am sure to find it again.
Just now the yard becomes hushed.  The siren and the dog have crept
into the black bound notebook and are silent.  Their silence exhales
into the adjoining yards.  A late window shines through the curtain
of ficus leaves, like a light in the forest, but this is only a neighborhood
two blocks off the avenue, and the distance is deceiving. And I  took
a chance.  The persimmon tree, for instance.  It was never weeping.
It was just leaning its lovely limb over the cinder block wall, it was
just letting its fruit down low.  If God was saying something, we all
missed it.  We were all looking at one another, we were all charmed
with one another, swept up in the peace of one another’s easy swaying.
So I take another chance. Velvet, diamond, ruby, emerald night—what 
is true among all these changes?  The siren again, and the dog again,
an airplane winking—almost like a star, and the brilliant languor of the
persimmon bough, a cascade, like a woman’s long veil, like tears falling.


Poems from Night of a Thousand Blossoms :

I Am Not a Keeper of Sheep
There Were Footsteps in the Garden