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HILLS, by             Poem Explanation         Poet's Biography
First Line: Overhead in the paris sky
Last Line: And all the fragrance of the rose
Alternate Author Name(s): Kostrowitzky, Wilhelm Apollina
Subject(s): Identity; Paris, France

Overhead in the Paris sky
Two airplanes fought it out one day
And one was red and one was black
And all the while in the zenith flamed
The everlasting sun-airplane

And one of them was my whole youth
The other was my days to come
The fury of their fight was like
The Archangel's with radiant wings
The day he fought with Lucifer

Set the sum against the problem thus
And the night thus against the day
Thus what I love makes its attack
Upon my love thus a great storm
Tears up the roots of a crying tree

There is such sweetness everywhere
Paris like a waking girl
Rises languid from her sleep
Shakes out the long coils of her hair
Singing and what she sings is fair

My youth has fallen where is it now
See all my future is in flames
Let the whole world hear me today
When I pronounce that now at last
Prophecy is an art newborn

You will find men who stand like hills
Towering from the run of men
Seeing the distant future's shape
Better than what surrounds them now
Clearer than what is past and gone

Adornment of roadways and of times
Passing and lasting without stay
Let us give the serpents leave to hiss
Vainly against the southern wind
The Psylli and the wave are gone

Schedule of days if our machines
Should set themselves to think at last
Waves of gold would comb and break
On stretches of a jeweled shore
The foam would be a womb once more

An eagle's pitch is less than man's
Man's is the joy that the sea knows
He frees himself in that upper air
From shadows and the muzzying blues
And so the spirit regains the dream

This is the time of sorcery
It's ours again prepare to see
A thousand million prodigies
Beyond the scope of myth itself
Since none has yet imagined them

The inner depths of consciousness
Tomorrow they will be explored
Who knows what living entities
Will be drawn up from that abyss
What new and whole cosmologies

Prophets rising up to speak
On the blue line of the distant hills
Will know the certitude of things
That learned men pretend to know
And they will carry us where they will

Desire is the greatest force
Come let me kiss you on the brow
Ah you are light as a tongue of flame
All of whose suffering you know
All of whose fervor burning bright

The time will come when we shall know
All that's to know of suffering
An age neither of taking heart
Nor of letting what we cherish go
Nor of doing all that we can do

In man himself we shall seek out
More than was ever sought before
And we shall weigh with no machines
Or instruments the will of man
And the drive engendered by that will

And even those who most would help
Are wrong in their ministering to us
Since the times that made us one
Nothing is ended nothing's begun
Look on your finger there's a ring

Time of deserts and crossroads
Time of hills and of city squares
I am here for a stroll or two
Where a talisman enacts his role
Dead and more subtile than life itself

At last I've set myself apart
From every natural concern
Die I may but I cannot sin
And whatever any man has touched
My hands have touched my hands have felt

I have investigated unimagined
things and many times
I have taken the very weight
Of life unweighable and now
I can perish with a smile

How often I have soared so high
So high that everything disappeared
Good-bye bizarreries ghosts good-bye
Then how shall I be imposed upon
By a small boy's pantomime of fear

Farewell my youth jasmine of time
I have breathed that fresh perfume
At Rome upon the floral floats
Gay with masks and tinkling bells
And the bright wreaths of carnival

Pure Christmas farewell now my youth
When all life was a single star
And I could see it mirrored in
The Mediterranean water far
Pearlier than a meteor

Downy as an archangelical
Nest with a garland made of clouds
Brighter than haloes are and all
Splendors and emanating fires
Single sweetness Harmonies

But now I make a halt to watch
Upon the incandescent grass
A straying snake and it is I
I am the flute I play upon
I am the whip I am the lash

There is a time for suffering
There is a time for goodness too
My youth farewell the time has come
To know what it is the future holds
To know and not to die of it

This is the time of burning grace
When only a man's will can act
Seven years of tests beyond belief
Will bring him back to his true self
More pure more wise and more alive

He will discover worlds beyond
Now his mind shrivels like those flowers
That bring to birth delicious fruits
And we shall see them ripening
Upon the hill in the thick sun

I sing of very life and I
Alone am fit to sing this song
My music falls like scattered seed
You other singers be still You shall
Not mingle your tares with my wheat

A vessel came into the port
A great ship fine with all her flags
On her we found no one at all
But a woman she was rosy fair
And she lay murdered at our feet

I was begging another time
And all they gave me was a flame
That burnt me to the lips I could
Not say a single word of thanks
Torch that nothing can put out

And where are you dear friend of mine
Withdrawn so deep into yourself
That only a pit was left behind
For me to hurl myself into
Down to the neutral shades below

I hear my footsteps coming back
Along those pathways that no foot
Has ever taken I hear my steps
Always passing there below
Slow or swift as they come and go

Winter you with your whiskered chin
It's snowing I am out of sorts
I have traversed a glory of skies
Where human life is music and
The sun is too white for my eyes

Become familiar as I have
With the wonders that I proclaim
The goodness that is to prevail
The suffering that I endure
Then you will know what is to come

From suffering with goodness joined
A purer beauty shall be born
Than any beauty found before
In balanced counterweight of forms
Snow falls I shudder and I burn

Here at my table I write down
Whatever it may be I have felt
Whatever I have sung up there
A thrusting tree that sways against
The wind and its light streaming hair

A silk hat on the tablecloth
In a jumble of fruit the gloves lie dead
Beside an apple a lady cranes
Her neck to see the gentleman
Stands next her and engulfs himself

The dance whirls on at the back of time
I have killed the handsome band leader
And for the pleasure of my friends
I peel an orange now whose taste
Is a marvel of fireworks in the sky

They are all dead the headwaiter comes
And pours them an unreal champagne
That bubbles as though it were a snail
Or as though it were a poet's brain
A rose was singing all the while

The slave raises a naked sword
Like rivers and their springing wells
And every time he lowers it
The guts of a universe are drawn
And new worlds issue forth from it

The chauffeur hangs on to the wheel
And every time along the road
He honks at a corner there beyond
Just at the edge of his eye's reach
A virgin universe recedes

Third on the program's the lady who
Takes the elevator up
Up she goes forever up
And light streams round about her and
She stands transfigured in that light

But these are minor secrets There
Are others you'll find more profound
To be disclosed in a little while
And they will cut you through and through
With a thought forever unparalleled

Weep then and weep and weep again
What though the moon is full tonight
Or only crescent in the sky
Ah weep and weep and weep again
We have laughed so long in the sunlight

Arms of gold support this life
The golden secret must be pierced
There's nothing but a rapid flame
Touched by a rose adorably
And all the fragrance of the rose

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