Summer Knowledge (Delmore Schwartz), 2012
Summer Knowledge
by Delmore Schwartz

Summer knowledge is not the winter's truth, the truth of fall,
the autumn'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
raveled 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 supply recognition
of the fullness and the fatness and the roundness of ripeness.
It is 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 the
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 wine and 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.