Autumn in the countryside, half past five, already dark.
I’ve come to my childhood place
by chance, looking for a bunch of keys I need from my old uncle.
Here by the house of my first summers, deckchairs under the garden grapes
by the water pump, caressing the grass, parents, grandparents, in the memory
the peaceful lasting of a luminous dusk. There a vineyard where later, in the dark,
I smoked my first cigarette, initiated
to the rite by an older cousin and his friends.
In the vineyard, in the warm dark, brushing the branches, scraping the bark
I can still see the orange dots of the cigarettes, a new sky watching and unveiling its heart.
It’s a field now, a stretch of clods and furrows that vineyard and the house is dark and silent,
the garden a square shadow in the glimmer of the distant road , all the shutters closed
except one with a feebly blue filtering through the curtains behind the window.
This, now, all there is, time has passed, it’s not bad, just bare, almost blank,
with up above, anyway, the stars. Before time passed here in this garden
almost half a century ago I was a boy, a gaze spacing in sky and grass
hiding a smile of forwardness, eagerly expecting the unknown.
Now I am in the unknown
that is staring and asking for nothing.
Or maybe, in its silence only asking for a purity of intent. The acceptance of a wait, without hoping and without fretting, the gesture of standing steady and straight.
In the damp autumn grass,
in the garden filled with nothing, in the mute prayer
of the naked present.