Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PALM, by PAUL VALERY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PALM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: An angel sets at my place
Last Line: To grow with what it gives!
Subject(s): Time

An angel sets at my place
-Barely screening the accolade
Of his formidable grace-
Fresh milk, new-baked bread;
With his lids he makes a sign
That is like a petition
That says to my vision:
Calm, calm, be calm,
Know the heaviness of a palm
Bearing its profusion!

Even as it bends
Under abundant good things
The shape perfectly rounds,
The heavy fruits are strings.
Wonder how it sheds
Vibrancy, how a slow thread
That parcels out the moment
Adjudicates without mystery
The heaviness of the sky
And the earth's enticement!

This fair mobile arbitress
Between shadow and sunlight
Wears the sibyl's dress,
Wisdom of day, sleep of night.
All round the one spot
The wide palm wearies not
Of welcomes and farewells . . .
How noble and soft it is
And worthy to dispose
The comforts of immortals!

The faint gold it sighs
Rings like a mere finger of air
Burdening the desert skies
With a silken signature.
An imperishable sound
Which it gives to the sandy wind
That waters it with its grains
Serves it as oracle
And foretells the miracle
Of the chanting pain.

Between sand and sky,
Ignorant of its own nature,
Each brightening day
Adds honey to its store.
This gentleness is ordered by
The divine continuity
Which does not mark passing time
But rather hides it
In a juice wherein secretes
All of love's perfume.

If you sometimes despond-
If the ardored rigor
In spite of tears responds
Under a shadow of languor-
Never blame of avarice
A Wisdom that is nurse
To so much gold and authority:
An everlasting hope
Rises through the dark sap
To maturity!

These days that seem effete,
Lost to the universal will,
Have thirsty roots that penetrate
The desert soil.
Fibrous substances,
The elect of shades,
They will never cease to try,
Short of the world's bowels,
To uncover the deep wells
For which the heights cry.

Patience, patience,
Patience in the blueness!
Every atom of silence
Is a seed of ripeness!
The glad surprise will come,
Quietest commotion,
A dove, a fresh breeze,
A woman leaning in languor
Will bring the downpour
That makes you fall on your knees!

Let multitudes pass away
Palm! . . . Let them abandon
Themselves, wallow in the clay
At the fruitfulness of creation!
These hours have not been lost,
So lightly you rest,
Like one contemplative
After lovely surrender,
Whose soul is spendthrift
To grow with what it gives!

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