It was amusing on that antique grass,
Seated halfway between the green and blue,
To waken music gentle and extinct.
Under the old walls where the daisies grew
Sprinkled in cinquecento style, as though
Archangels might have stepped there yesterday.
But it was we, mortal and young, who strolled
And fluted quavering music, for a day
Casual heirs of all we looked upon.
Such pipers of the emeralds afternoon
Could only be the heirs of perfect time
When every leaf distinctly brushed with gold
Listened to Primavera speaking flowers.
Those scherzos stumble now; our journeys run
To harsher hillsides, rockier declensions.
Obligatory climates call us home.
And so shall clarity of cypresses,
Unfingered by necessity, become
Merely the ghost of half-remembered trees,
A trick of sunlight flattering the mind?—
There were four recorders sweet upon the wind.
—Adrienne Cecile Rich, “Recorders in Italy”
Art Credit Nathan Ford