It’s hard to believe that summer is already almost half over. Now’s that time of the year when the heat gets cranked up to 11 and scorches our cars and our skin (make sure you apply lots of sunscreen!). The intense heat wave here in New York inspired me to take a look at what some poets had to say about summer heat! If you’re interested too, here are nine poems that talk about exactly that. Stay cool!
image via pittsburgh children’s museum
1. “summer wind” by william cullen bryant
image via newsthump
2. “summer of the ladybirds” by Vivian Smith
image via mahoney’s garden center
3. “on summer” by george moses horton
image via pikist
4. “the summer bower” by Henry Timrod
image via pete geniella on flickr
5. “summer stars” by carl sandberg
Bend low again, night of summer stars.
So near you are, sky of summer stars,
So near, a long arm man can pick off stars,
Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,
So near you are, summer stars,
So near, strumming, strumming,
So lazy and hum-strumming.
image via pixabay
6. “before summer rain” by rainer maria rilke
Suddenly, from all the green around you,
something-you don’t know what-has disappeared;
you feel it creeping closer to the window,
in total silence. From the nearby wood
you hear the urgent whistling of a plover,
reminding you of someone’s Saint Jerome:
so much solitude and passion come
from that one voice, whose fierce request the downpour
will grant. The walls, with their ancient portraits, glide
away from us, cautiously, as though
they weren’t supposed to hear what we are saying.
And reflected on the faded tapestries now;
the chill, uncertain sunlight of those long
childhood hours when you were so afraid.
image via not that bob james on pixlr
7. “Summer” by louise gluck
Remember the days of our first happiness,
how strong we were, how dazed by passion,
lying all day, then all night in the narrow bed,
sleeping there, eating there too: it was summer,
it seemed everything had ripened
at once. And so hot we lay completely uncovered.
Sometimes the wind rose; a willow brushed the window.
But we were lost in a way, didn’t you feel that?
The bed was like a raft; I felt us drifting
far from our natures, toward a place where we’d discover nothing.
First the sun, then the moon, in fragments,
stone through the willow.
Things anyone could see.
Then the circles closed. Slowly the nights grew cool;
the pendant leaves of the willow
yellowed and fell. And in each of us began
a deep isolation, though we never spoke of this,
of the absence of regret.
We were artists again, my husband.
We could resume the journey.
image via wikipedia
8. “sonnet 18” by william shakespeare
image via angela larose on flickr
9. “night swims” by marcia lebeau
All the kids went to the community pool every summer day. Mom made us wait for evening so she could swim her laps in peace. Sunlight skimmed
the water, dropped too low to filter down, but the night breeze warmed our plunges then chilled our towel-wrapped bodies. Mom’s blue terrycloth cover-up barely covered
her thighs as she shifted the car home. I would shiver upstairs to the shower and jump in with her. Unnerved by the curves and hair of her body
I didn’t possess. When would I turn this strange looking? We were ravenous on those nights. Always a quick salad, cherry tomatoes squirting seeds
inside our cheeks, lettuce, peppers, corn on the cob, green beans, the navy blue pitcher with white corn flowers full of ice tea. My friends called later. Their fingers sticking
to the phone from bomb pops in the afternoon, told me what I had missed at the pool during the day. Now, when I go to the gym pool I choose a lane
by the window graced with patches of sunlight, even when the lifeguard points to a darker one that’s open. I sit at the edge, dangle my feet and wait.