The Descent of Alette [“I stood waiting”]

“I stood waiting” “for some minutes” “in this very” “alive darkness—”
“the air so vibrant,” “the trees awake” “There were flowers,” “mixed
grasses,” “growing lower” “in the dark,” “& I was relieved” “to be
near them” “after so much time” “where nothing grew” “Then” “I heard a

song” “faint & blurred,” “a slow song” “I heard it” “as if through
walls” “As if” “there were a room“ “next to where I stood” “& someone,”
“a man,” “sang inside of it” “The tune was sad,” “& attracting”
“I approached it—” “where its source seemed to be—” “& it moved away

from me” “just a” “short distance“ “This happened twice” “Then I
understood” “I was to follow it:” “& so it led me—” “through deep
woods” “& clearings,” “for” “a long while” “The voice sang” “the
same melody” “over” “& over” “mournful” “& intimate” “in a language”

“I didn’t recognize—“ “or didn’t think I did:” “it was hard to” “hear
the words—” “Till at last we” “reached a meadow” “where the song”
“ceased to sound,” “pale & empty” “with trees around it” “Then I
sank to” “the ground” “& fell asleep for” “a long time” “But when I

awoke” “of course” “it was dark”

From Book Three of The Descent of Alette by Alice Notley, copyright © 1992 by Alice Notley. Used by peromission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.