Night Blooming Jasmine

And in the hour when blooms unfurl

thoughts of my loved ones come to me.

           The moths of evening whirl

           around the snowball tree.

Nothing now shouts or sings;

one house only whispers, then hushes.

           Nestlings sleep beneath wings,

           like eyes beneath their lashes.

From open calyces there flows

a ripe strawberry scent, in waves.

           A lamp in the house glows.

           Grasses are born on graves.

A late bee sighs, back from its tours

and no cell vacant any more.

           The hen and her cheeping stars

           cross their threshing floor.

All through the night the flowers flare,

scent flowing and catching the wind.

           The lamp now climbs the stair,

           shines from above, is dimmed...

It's dawn: the petals, slightly worn,

close up again—each bud to brood,

           in its soft, secret urn,

           on some yet-nameless good.

From The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry edited by Geoffrey Brock. Copyright © 2012 by Geoffrey Brock. Reprinted with permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. All rights reserved.