Anthony Evan Hecht

(16 January 1923 - 20 October 2004 / New York)

A Hill


In Italy, where this sort of thing can occur,
I had a vision once - though you understand
It was nothing at all like Dante's, or the visions of saints,
And perhaps not a vision at all. I was with some friends,
Picking my way through a warm sunlit piazza
In the early morning. A clear fretwork of shadows
From huge umbrellas littered the pavement and made
A sort of lucent shallows in which was moored
A small navy of carts. Books, coins, old maps,
Cheap landscapes and ugly religious prints
Were all on sale. The colors and noise
Like the flying hands were gestures of exultation,
So that even the bargaining
Rose to the ear like a voluble godliness.
And then, where it happened, the noises suddenly stopped,
And it got darker; pushcarts and people dissolved
And even the great Farnese Palace itself
Was gone, for all its marble; in its place
Was a hill, mole-colored and bare. It was very cold,
Close to freezing, with a promise of snow.
The trees were like old ironwork gathered for scrap
Outside a factory wall. There was no wind,
And the only sound for a while was the little click
Of ice as it broke in the mud under my feet.
I saw a piece of ribbon snagged on a hedge,
But no other sign of life. And then I heard
What seemed the crack of a rifle. A hunter, I guessed;
At least I was not alone. But just after that
Came the soft and papery crash
Of a great branch somewhere unseen falling to earth.

And that was all, except for the cold and silence
That promised to last forever, like the hill.

Then prices came through, and fingers, and I was restored
To the sunlight and my friends. But for more than a week
I was scared by the plain bitterness of what I had seen.
All this happened about ten years ago,
And it hasn't troubled me since, but at last, today,
I remembered that hill; it lies just to the left
Of the road north of Poughkeepsie; and as a boy
I stood before it for hours in wintertime.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Form:


Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
1 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: today, snow, silence, rose, people, wind, alone, friend, remember, tree

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Hill by Anthony Evan Hecht )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. If, Rudyard Kipling
  5. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  6. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  7. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  8. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. i am accused of tending to the past, Lucille Clifton
  10. 'Hope' is the thing with feathers, Emily Dickinson

Poem of the Day

poet Hilaire Belloc

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

New Poems

  1. Put God First, Robert Barnett
  2. Te Amé Desde el Primer de los Días, Hebert Logerie
  3. Scales falling, Angell Afinowi
  4. About the Armadillo, Angell Afinowi
  5. Leprosy at the birthday Party, Angell Afinowi
  6. The Journey, Alvin Mingle
  7. Darling, Anthony Di'anno
  8. Bright Shades of Life, Rohit Sapra
  9. Tolstoy's Lament, Bill Lindsay
  10. The valley of Utah, Rekha Mandagere
[Hata Bildir]