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Summer Knowledge

 
 

                                    Summer Knowledge

Summer knowledge is not the winter's truth, the truth of fall 
     the autumns's fruition, vision, and recognition:
It is not May knowledge, little and leafing and growing green,
     blooming out and blossoming white,
It is not the knowing and the knowledge of the gold fall and
     the ripened darkening vineyard,                                                              
Nor the black tormented, drenched and rainy knowledge of birth,
     April, and travail,                                                                                  
The knowledge of the womb's convulsions, and the coiled cord's
     ravelled artery, severed and cut open,
     as the root forces its way up from the dark loam:
The agony of the first knowledge of pain is worse than death, 
     or worse than the thought of death:                                                          
No poppy, no preparation, no initiation, no illusion, only
     the beginning, so distant from all knowledge
     and all conclusion, all indecision and all illusion.
Summer knowledge is green knowledge, country knowledge 
     the knowledge of growing and the supple recognition
     of the fullness and the fatness and the roundness of ripeness. 
It is the bird knowledge and the knowing that trees possess when
The sap ascends to the leaf and the flower and the fruit, 
Which the root never sees and the root believes in the darkness
     and the ignorance of winter knowledge
–The knowledge of the fruit is not the knowledge possessed 
     by the root in its indomitable darkness of ambition
Which is the condition of belief beyond conception of 
     experience or the gratification of fruition. 
Summer knowledge is not picture knowledge, nor is it the
     knowledge of lore and learning. 
It is not the knowledge known from the mountain's height, it 
     is not the garden's view of the distant mountains of hidden 
          fountains; 
It is not the still vision in a gold frame, it is not 
     measured and treasured sentences of sentiments;
It is cat knowledge, deer knowledge, the knowledge of the 
     full grown foliage, of the snowy blossom and the rounding fruit. 
It is the phoenix knowledge of the vine and the grape near 
     summer's end, when the grape swells and the apple reddens: 
It is the knowledge of the ripening apple when it moves to the 
     fullness of the time of falling to rottenness and death.
For summer knowledge is the knowledge of death as birth, 
Of death as the soil of all abounding flowering flaring rebirth. 
It is the knowledge of the truth of love and the truth of growing: 
     it is the knowledge before and after knowledge: 
For, in a way, summer knowledge is not knowledge at all: it is 
     second nature, first nature fulfilled, a new birth 
     and a new death for rebirth, soaring and rising out 
     of the flames of turning October, burning November, 
     the towering and falling fires, growing more and 
     more vivid and tall
In the consummation and the annihilation of the blaze of fall. 

     – Delmore Schwartz, "Selected Poems (1938-1958) Summer Knowledge"