Of our knowing a mad heroine
Given to seeing all houses as yellow,
All shade as cold ocean possessing.
She walks stampingly strange lanes where thistles fall often,
And she stands a while on dark steps by long tracks.
She likes insects to whom she gives names, a name for each one she knows.
She sees cubes in soft earth, fans in air, steps in the high air beyond houses.
She prays noisily certain powers she is familiar with, fond of colorful dressing, of sweeping clothes and snug hair.
She loves coils, corrugations, springs, wires together, woven each into each.
She thinks a certain moon ought to be for Guiana, the first Guiana.
She sees novels as straight from a nervous devil, who knows what two syllables can do going with three.
She sees cars as a steel-like, speedy vegetation, made to transport air, and vivify reposeful atmosphere.
What she thinks of gales is horrible.
Hurricanes she's very fond of, and understands them more each day.
White she sees as the color of things underground, as the color of the bottoms of frigates, liners, various ships; also as the means of talking used by certain bold petals.
Her sentiments are highly flexible; yesterday they changed about the number 80.
Wood she sees as Juno's favorite, Mexico's darling.
Mahogany is to her worthy of praise for the sounds it can make; also for the fine way it goes with air.
Night she sees as the cover of meadows, the stiller of trees, the adorner of spheres, and the general painting of weighty, wide substances, given to having shouting in them.
Her views on competitive clouds are not in accordance with the impetuous Venella's.
Quiet she looks upon as something charming, something made by mischievous but correct Gods to be of much assistance to certain dreams.
This mad heroine is a dweller among spaces between parallels, and the emptinesses neighboring jagged high marble growings out of the ground.
Such is a mad heroine of our knowing.
Us she sees as knowing her well and friendly.
From Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems
© 1957 by Eli Siegel