Hear me a moment. Laureate poets seem to wander among plants no one knows: boxwood, acanthus, where nothing is alive to touch. I prefer small streets that falter into grassy ditches where a boy, searching in the sinking puddles, might capture a struggling eel. The little path that winds down along the slope plunges through cane-tufts and opens suddenly into the orchard among the moss-green trunks of the lemon trees. Perhaps it is better if the jubilee of small birds dies down, swallowed in the sky, yet more real to one who listens, the murmur of tender leaves in a breathless, unmoving air. The senses are graced with an odor filled with the earth. It is like rain in a troubled breast, sweet as an air that arrives too suddenly and vanishes. A miracle is hushed; all passions are swept aside. Even the poor know that richness, the fragrance of the lemon trees. You realize that in silences things yield and almost betray their ultimate secrets. At times, one half expects to discover an error in Nature, the still point of reality, the missing link that will not hold, the thread we cannot untangle in order to get at the truth. You look around. Your mind seeks, makes harmonies, falls apart in the perfume, expands when the day wearies away. There are silences in which one watches in every fading human shadow something divine let go. The illusion wanes, and in time we return to our noisy cities where the blue appears only in fragments high up among the towering shapes. Then rain leaching the earth. Tedious, winter burdens the roofs, and light is a miser, the soul bitter. Yet, one day through an open gate, among the green luxuriance of a yard, the yellow lemons fire and the heart melts, and golden songs pour into the breast from the raised cornets of the sun.
Listen, Melisso: I want to tell you a dream I had last night, which comes to mind, seeing the moon again. I was standing at the window that looks out on the meadow staring up, when suddenly the moon unhooked herself. And it seemed to me that as she fell, the nearer she got the bigger she looked, until she hit the ground in the middle of the meadow, big as a bucket, and vomited a cloud of sparks that shrieked as loud as when you dunk a live coal in the water and drown it. So, as I said, the moon died in the middle of the meadow, little by little slowly darkening, and the grass was smoking all around. Then, looking up into the sky, I saw something still there, a glimmer or a shadow, or the niche that she'd been torn away from, which made me cold with fear. And I'm still anxious.
You were right to be afraid, when the moon fell so easily into your field.
Who knows? Don't we often see stars fall in summer?
There are so many stars that if one or another of them falls it's no great loss, since there are thousands left. But there's just this one moon up in the sky, which no one saw fall ever—except in dreams.