Sundown perfume

Sundown perfume

Sitting alone by the creek
           solitude here but the scene
bright and vivid enough
           the sun shining
and a fresh wind blowing
           some heavy showers last night

the grass and trees looking their best
           in the shadows and the half-shadows
and dappling glimpses of water
           through the gaps

the wild note of a quail near by
           crows cawing in the distance
a drove of young hogs
           rooting in soft ground
close to the oak
           under which I sit

And still the clear notes of the quail
           the quiver of leaf-shadows
over the paper as I write
           white clouds aloft in the sky
the sun fast declining to the west
           the swift darting of many sand-swallows
coming and going,
           their holes in a neighbouring marl-bank
the odour of the cedar oak
           so palpable as evening approaches
perfume
           colour
the bronze-and-gold of ripening wheat
           honey-scented clover-fields
the venerable old oak above me
           and still the dual notes of the quail
and the soughing of the wind
           through some nearby pines

As I rise to return home
           my ear catches a delicious song
from some bushy recess
           off there in the marsh
leisurely repeated
           over and over again
and circles of swallows
           flying in their dozens
in concentric rings
           in the last rays of sunset
like the flashes
           of some airy wheel


Adapted from Walt Whitman’s Specimen Days

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