Sunday, 28 October 2012

秋老虎 (A Tiger in Autumn) by Joseph Harker

This holy electricity was in the air today, rummaged between
the cars flashing down Sixth Avenue and the long fingers of buildings
jutting up from the earth. Even in the city’s encrusted heart,
autumn is the kaleidoscope season. The whole world rolled over,

held up to the sun to let all its pieces jangle and clatter
in riots of color: never a sky that deserved the adjective blue,
market stalls lined with apples and pumpkins like some
secret painter set off a vegetable grenade. Everything deciding

to throw one last party. No paleness to it like with the afterbirth
of spring, no drowning haze like the maturity of summer.
Now is when we feel the tumbling of days, see the sun move
ever more frantically up the staircase heavens, feel ourselves

tumbling round our wheel of fortune. The year knows its time is
almost up. At the start the peeking of green and purple is a relief,
but here (in the empty spaces, in the parks and medians and
rooftop verandas) the whole bodies of trees, stones, air,

they allow themselves to burn out with glory. Leaves that turn
have already begun to die: and before they crumble, they
celebrate, stand our hair on end with their beauty, coming down
on our heads, we, who learn so much, who learn so little.

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