[ilds] The Tree of Idleness

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Thu Jul 19 10:18:41 PDT 2007


Photo courtesy of our friend Bob Montgomery 
<http://home.clara.net/bobmonty/cyprus55/cyprus55/cyprus55.HTM#pictures>:


The image




>>   
>>     
>>>             *THE TREE OF IDLENESS [from Collected Poems: 1931-1974
>>>             (1985), Faber and Faber]*
>>>
>>>
>>>             I shall die one day I suppose
>>>             In this old Turkish house I inhabit:
>>>             A ragged banana-leaf outside and here
>>>             On the sill in a jam-jar a rock-rose.
>>>
>>>             Perhaps a single pining mandolin
>>>             Throbs where cicadas have quarried
>>>             To the heart of all misgiving and there
>>>             Scratches on silence like a pet locked in.
>>>
>>>             Will I be more or less dead
>>>             Than the village in memory's dispersing
>>>             Springs, or in some cloud of witness see,
>>>             Looking back, the selfsame road ahead?
>>>
>>>             By the moist clay of a woman's wanting,
>>>             After the heart has stopped its fearful
>>>             Gnawing, will I descry between
>>>             This life and that another sort of haunting?
>>>
>>>             No: the card-players in tabs of shade
>>>             Will play on: the aerial springs
>>>             Hiss: in bed lying quiet under kisses
>>>             Without signature, with all my debts unpaid
>>>
>>>             I shall recall nights of squinting rain,
>>>             Like pig-iron on the hills: bruised
>>>             Landscapes of drumming cloud and everywhere
>>>             The lack of someone spreading like a stain.
>>>
>>>             Or where brown fingers in the darkness move,
>>>             Before the early shepherds have awoken,
>>>             Tap out on sleeping lips with these same
>>>             Worn typewriter keys a poem imploring
>>>
>>>             Silence of lips and minds which have not spoken.
>>>
>>>             1955/1955
>>>
>>>             Author's Note
>>>
>>>             The title of this poem is taken from the name of the tree
>>>             which stands outside Bellapaix Abbey in Cyprus, and which
>>>             confers the gift of pure idleness on all who sit under it.
>>>     
>>>       
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-- 
**********************
Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu
**********************

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