Text by James Agee 19091955
...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 of 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 seem 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 a 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 bed. 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 oh will not not now not ever; but will not ever tell me who I am.