Evelyn Scott: Excerpts From Precipitations (1920)

These looping animations are based on five different poems by Evelyn Scott (1893 - 1963). The five poems are from her collection Precipitations, which was published in 1920.

 

From Brooklyn

Along the shore
A black net of branches
Tangles the pulpy yellow lamps.
The shell-colored sky is lustrous with the fading sun.
Across the river Manhattan floats–
Dim gardens of fire–
And rushing invisible toward me through the fog,
A hurricane of faces.

 

Startled Forests: Hudson River

The thin hill pushes against the mist.
Its fading defiance sounds in the umber and red of autumn leaves.
Like a dead arm around a warm throat
Is the sagging embrace of the river
Laid grayly about the shore.

The train passes.
We emerge from a tunnel into a sky of thin blue morning glories
Where yellow lily bells tinkle down.
The paths run swiftly away under the lamp glow
Like green and blue lizards
Mottled with light.

 

Snow Dance

Black brooms of trees sweep the sky clean;
Sweep the house fronts,
And leave them bleak in sleep.
High up the empty moon
Spills her vacuity.

I dance.
My long black shadow
Weaves an invisible pattern of pain.
The snow
Is embroidered with my happiness.

 

Lights At Night

In the city,
Storms of light
Surge against the clouds,
Pushing up the darkness.

In the country,
Is the faint pressure of oil lamps,
That sputter,
Smothered with earth–
Extinguished in silence.

 

Crowds

The sky along the street a gauzy yellow:
The narrow lights burn tall in the twilight.

The cool air sags,
Heavy with the thickness of bodies.
I am elated with bodies.
They have stolen me from myself.
I love the way they beat me to life,
Pay me for their cruelties.
In the close intimacy I feel for them
There is the indecency I like.

I belong to them,
To these whom I hate;
And because we can never know each other,
Or be anything to each other,
Though we have been the most,
I sell so much of me that could bring a better price.