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American nocturne.

The tree with the name unknown to me covers the whole night With its resemblance to a tree that I name In my ancestral memory without managing to evoke That ancient perfume dispensed by its shadow. This tree Seems to me a friend newly encountered with whom Words will never replace the brightness Of glances exchanged despite all precaution It floods me with a vegetal musk that I collect At each forking of a branch and its seems To experience a discreet enjoyment of its own Feeling me close to it tremling in its scent. Nighttime: the river calls to the ancient man Protected by the favorable gods of night Man standing draped in the immensity That he alone grasps river space night That he perceives like an eagle its prey from the heights Of his whole history of a man listening To the rivers mountains paths he has traced To his mark on the earth which he alone knows Steps and thoughts trees and rivers named Man named, creator gods to be invented To catch the universe like a fish in his nets The car slices out of the forest out of the traversed sea of trees The road where disoriented tribes will pass Guided by hordes of Moses toward the land of milk and honey That a woman with hair of flame sings in the ether She makes me vibrate like the strings of a lyre She makes me open my arms before the breaking dawn As we leave the forest a rain of ashes awaits us Delays this passage further and may I hear One moment more the sound of the river by night Beyond the trees the footprints of tribes may I smell The odor of men on earth.
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Author:Martory, Pierre; Ashbery, John
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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