Rogation Days

Under the orchards, under
The tree strung vines, little blue
Figures are making hay, high
On the steep hillsides above
Palladio's drowsy villas
And Tiepolo's swirling walls.
On the highest field they are
Still cutting with swinging scythes;
Down below they are tossing
The long swathes of hay to cure
In the sun; further down they
Are cocking it, or carrying
It off in two-wheeled donkey carts.
The Venetian plain vanishes
In haze. The nearby Alps are
Indefinite blue smudges,
Capped with faint streaks of orange
Snow. Clouds of perfume roll up
The hillside in waves. All the birds
Sing. All the flowers bloom. Here
At a stone table like this,
On a little hill like this,
In a circle of cypress
And olive like this, the infinite
Visited Leopardi,
And ravished him and carried
Him off in the deep summer.
It would carry me off, too,
If I knew where I wanted
To go, or if I just wanted
To go nowhere at all.

by Kenneth Rexroth

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