All the little leaves of summer
Look for something new to be said about them.
Even as they swing in such limp greenness,
They look for the right word, just for them.
It is so easy to be inadequate about leaves;
And it is easy to forget about them—
Fie!—even to disparage them.
As things of poetry,
What, though, is newer than green leaves,
In all their having-been-written about?
Think of a green, green leaf
In Connecticut with many leaves;
And of a green, green leaf
In Colorado with many leaves;
And think of many leaves, crowded, gorgeous, green, thick, moving,
Of a June afternoon—late June—in Massachusetts—
And all leafness is just as fresh as it was;
No words have interfered—not even "rustling".
You feel like crushing a leaf—rightly—on your warm cheek,
Never letting it go,
Being intense in the rich greenness of a leaf just so, just so,
(All this you feel like).
Libraries make green leaves fresher.
All verse does, even that not so good.
Once more let's announce the team of Leaves and Emotion:
As good as ever,
Deep in summer,
And about now, say.
From Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems (Definition Press)
© 1957 by Eli Siegel