Sumari 1915 Knoxville

 

...S tmi kvlds er runninn upp egar flk situr t vernd, vaggar sr rlega og talar rlega og fylgist me strtinu og horfir upp til trjnna sem umkringja himininn, hreiur fuglanna, hlfar hestvagnanna. Flk fer hj; tki fara hj. Hestur me vagn dragi ber jrnslegnar ntur malbiki sem ma um lofti. Hvr bll, hljur bll. Flki gengur tvennt saman, n alls asa, , skiptist lkamsbyri hvors annars glavrum stimpingum. og rir hversdagslega hluti. Af eim svfur eimur af vanillu, jaraberjum, boskortum og bingi, en gegnum gagns trsltin glittir mynd elskenda og knapa. Fr sporvagni gella jrnstunur, hann stansar; bjalla mar. Hann okast san aftur af sta me hrotkenndum hvaa og jrnstunurnar heyrast aftur en hrra. Me gyllta glugga og strofin sti synda vagnarnir framhj, og hj og hj. Flir blossar neista og braka af akinu, lkt og ltill hatursfullur andi elti brautarteinanna. Jrnskri eykst me hraanum; vex enn, fellur san t og stvast egar bjalla hljmar fjarlg. Hlji heyrist san aftur, en dofnar svo og deyr t, gleymist. N er nttin ein bl dgg.

N er nttin ein bl dgg sem fair minn hefur vatna, hann hefur hringa slnguna.

Lgt niri grasinu birtast blossar eldflugnanna, eins og litlir flktandi eldar....Foreldrar sitja verndum svigrlum: vagga og vagga. blautum stilkum hanga forn andlit morgunrsanna.  

Lofti ber me sr hljm engisprettanna, urran og hfleygan, sem fellur taktfast a eyrum mnum r llum ttum.  

Fair minn og mir hafa breitt teppi hrjft og blautt grasi bakgarinum. Vi liggjum ar ll, mir mn, fair minn, frndi minn og frnka mn, og g ligg arna lka... au segja ekki margt. Tal eirra er hljlegt og snst ekki um neitt srstakt, um alls ekkert srstakt, um ekki neitt. Stjrnurnar breia sr um himininn og geisla af lfi, hver eirra skn eins og undur bllegt bros, sem snist nlgt. Allt flki mitt er strra a skpun en g, ... me mjkar og merkingarlausar raddir lkt og kliur sofandi fugla. Einn er mlari, hann br hr. Ein er hljfraleikari, hn br hr. Ein er mir mn, sem er g vi mig. Einn er fair minn, sem er gur vi mig. Fyrir einhverja tilviljun, eru au ll hr, essari jr. Hver getur veri raunamddur essari jr, liggjandi, teppi, grasinu, sumarkvldi, innan um hlj nturinnar. Gu blessi flki mitt, frnda minn, frnku mna, mur mna, fur minn. , mundu eftir eim og hafu miskunn me eim egar au eiga vandkvum, og eirri stund er au hverfa brott.

Eftir dlitla stund er g frur inn og httaur upp rm. Svefninn, togar mig til sn me mjku famlagi. au sem tku mti mr, og fara hljlega me mig eins og einn af fjlskyldunni, elskaan essu heimili, au munu ekki, , munu ekki, ekki nna, ekki til endanns, au munu aldrei segja mr hver g er.   

James Agee

 

 

Knoxville: Summer of 1915

We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville Tennessee in the time that I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child.

...It has become that time of evening when people sit on their porches, rocking gently and talking gently and watching the street and the standing up into their sphere of possession of the trees, of birds' hung havens, hangars. People go by; things go by. A horse, drawing a buggy, breaking his hollow iron music on the asphalt: a loud auto: a quiet auto: people in pairs, not in a hurry, scuffling, switching their weight of aestival body, talking casually, the taste hovering over them in vanilla, strawberry, pasteboard, and starched milk, the image upon them of lovers and horsemen, squaring with clowns in hueless amber. A streetcar raising its iron moan; stopping; belling and starting, stertorous; rousing and raising again its iron increasing moan and swimming its gold windows and straw seats on past and past and past, the bleak spark crackling and cursing above it like a small malignant spirit set to dog its tracks; the iron whine rises on rising speed; still risen, faints; halts; the faint stinging bell; rises again, still fainter; fainting, lifting, lifts, faints foregone: forgotten. Now is the night one blue dew.

Now is the night one blue dew, my father has drained, he has coiled the hose.

Low in the length of lawns, a frailing of fire who breathes...
Parents on porches: rock and rock. From damp strings morning glories hang their ancient faces.

The dry and exalted noise of the locusts from all the air at once enchants my eardrums.

On the rough wet grass of the back yard my father and mother have spread quilts. We all lie there, my mother, my father, my uncle, my aunt, and I too am lying there... They are not talking much, and the talk is quiet, of nothing in particular, of nothing at all in particular, of nothing at all. The stars are wide and alive, they seem each like a smile of great sweetness, and they are very near. All my people are larger bodies than mine,... with voices gentle and meaningless like the voices of sleeping birds. One is an artist, he is living at home. One is a musician, she is living at home. One is my mother who is good to me. One is my father who is good to me. By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in the summer evening, among the sounds of the night. May God bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away.

After a little I am taken in and put to be. Sleep, soft smiling, draws me unto her: and those receive me, who quietly treat me, as one familiar and well-beloved in that home: but will not, no ,will not, not now, noter; but will not ever tell me who I am.