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Late Afternoon: The Onslaught Of Love Analysis



Author: poem of Anthony Hecht Type: poem Views: 14

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For William and Emily Maxwell



At this time of day

One could hear the caulking irons sound

Against the hulls in the dockyard.

Tar smoke rose between trees

And large oily patches floated on the water,

Undulating unevenly

In the purple sunlight

Like the surfaces of Florentine bronze.



At this time of day

Sounds carried clearly

Through hot silences of fading daylight.

The weedy fields lay drowned

In odors of creosote and salt.

Richer than double-colored taffeta,

Oil floated in the harbor,

Amoeboid, iridescent, limp.

It called to mind the slender limbs

Of Donatello's David.



It was lovely and she was in love.

They had taken a covered boat to one of the islands.

The city sounds were faint in the distance:

Rattling of carriages, tumult of voices,

Yelping of dogs on the decks of barges.



At this time of day

Sunlight empurpled the world.

The poplars darkened in ranks

Like imperial servants.

Water lapped and lisped

In its native and quiet tongue.

Oakum was in the air and the scent of grasses.

There would be fried smelts and cherries and cream.

Nothing designed by Italian artisans

Would match this evening's perfection.

The puddled oil was a miracle of colors.






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