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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Late Summer

            for Vivian and Christie


This lyric afternoon with its fruit trees
and friendship and barest kiss of rain,
is it so wrong to want to save it, the way
I will process the dark plums into jam?
Is it so wrong to want to preserve
the honeyed song of summer, the warmth
of sun, the pleasure of an afternoon
with my daughter and a friend?
An ovation of thunder.
Scent of basil. Purr of cat.
The creamy fuzz of the growing quince.
The joy as we try for the first time
black apricots, their skin so surprising,
their flesh so nectar-ish. I will freeze
most of the ripe blackberries we gathered,
will savor them come snow, come cold.
A day such as this is like yeast in wheat dough—
it’s not there just for taste, it’s the difference
between bread and a brick.
It invites a trust there will be other days
filled with elation. Dig in, it seems to say.
Don’t save for later what can only be lived today.
Even the disbelief that a day could be so good—
that too, tastes so nourishing, so sweet.

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So Alive

After a late summer rain,
when the low sun shines
through the still-dripping world,
I walk in the garden and slip my hands
into the lettuce rows,
easily pulling up small green heads,
the leaves not yet bitter and tough.
Oh, the beauty of things in their prime.
Soon enough, the snow will be here,
the garden a drift of white.
No way to preserve this green for winter,
so I take it into me, dirt and all,
stuffing the leaves into my mouth.
I take in the green and the diamonding dew,
take in the golden light,
take in the sound of the river
and the growing shadows.
There are moments I understand
what blessing is. In this moment,
it looks exactly like what is.


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These warm summer evenings
I take in the nighthawks
looping above the field.
I take in their fast and agile flight,
take in their long and pointed wings.
Come winter, I will be grateful
to have stored such things.
When the nighthawks are gone
and the world is dim,
I will want to remember thema—
their aerialist displays, the way
they make of the dusk a playground,
the way the whole night
seems to hang on an angling wing—
Oh summer is such a generous thing.
Even the dark is charged with the thrill
of living. Even this heart, wounded
and bruised, can’t help but open
to the wheeling of nighthawks,
how they arc and sweep
as the sun disappears
and then continue their swooping
long after the light is gone.

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Nearing the Time When



Even without a calendar,
I would know it is nearly a year
since you left this world.
I know by the angle
of sun in the trees.
Know by the way
I need a sweater at night.
Know by the peas ripe on the vine
and the carrots just now long enough to pull.
I know by the scent
of afternoon monsoons
and the daily threat of mudslides
and the regreening of the field before the gold.
The whole world seems to remember
what it was doing the day you died.
The hummingbirds were swarming
the sweet water in the feeder.
The blue dragonflies were landing
on reeds near the pond.
And the sunflowers in the garden
had just begun to open.
I am pierced by an awareness
of what is not the same,
how the rhythms of the heart
have wildly changed,
even as the river sings red and low
as it always does in August,
even as the mushrooms push through the duff
as they do, as they do, as they always do.



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I find myself storing up on light
   the way picas store summer grass—
     leaving it out to dry
       in front of their rocky homes.

I store light in poems,
   in photographs. I stand
     bare skinned in the sun
       and store it in memories.

There will be a day five months from now
   when I will desperately want to remember
     how it feels to stand naked
       in the field, held by the warmth

of the sun. So I stand naked in the field,
   and if I were a pica, there would be
     in front of my door a stack
       of golden rays and a dozen

long and sun-drenched days
   and the scent of an almost rain.
     I know the winter is long. I remember.
       I gather more light, more light.

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It could be any ordinary midsummer day
when the world redefines green
and the field leaps into leaf and bloom
and the birdsong plays in a nonstop loop,
but I’m sitting inside because it’s Monday
and there are bills to pay and deadlines
to meet and stovetops to scrub
and children to feed. I know
I’m supposed to seize the day and
walk in the waist-high wildflowers
that even now splay into deep purple bloom
in the alpine meadows still rung with snow,
but I know, too, there is work to be done.
Perhaps there is no such thing
as balance. There is only this story
of should versus should. For a moment,
I step out of the story and notice how
good it feels to not believe any of it,
to let myself be led by the next true thing—
this word asking to be written, this breath
asking to be breathed, this life wanting
to be loved no matter how I spend
these ordinary, precious hours.

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June Song


 
 
I wake into the summer light
with summer skin and summer
eyes and breathe the summer’s
perfumed air and wear the sunshine
in my hair; and all around me
summer sings, cicada clicks and
broadtail wings. And evenings
steep in a honeyed glow
that transforms all the world
to gold. And if there is a winter
dream, I cannot find it in this
time when swallows wheel
and all is green and I’m
a wild and summer thing.

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Now Everlasting



 
 
The cotton is starting to fall from the trees
and already handfuls of white cover the ground.
Every year, it happens, this mid-summer snow,
and sitting here, I seem to exist in a now
that includes every summer—a now
of goose honk and bright pulse of cricket song,
deep green fields and whitewater.
I feel utterly tethered to the moment
and startlingly eternal—daughter
of blue sky and swallow flight, red cliff
and low golden light. What is forever
to the cottonwood trees if not now,
this very now when the tiny green seeds
are given fluffy white froth to travel on.
What is forever if not for this moment
of summer when I forget
whatever else I should be doing
and give myself up to scent of chokecherry,
prickle of grass, the unpredictable breeze.

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We ride on the rusty old bikes

in the swelter of June,

legs pumping, waving at strangers,

the wind making a kite

of our laughter—

 

The eight-year-old version of me

would never believe

about how happy we are—

she’s still ratting her brother out

to the recess guard.

 

But here we are, like two

young kids, playing in summer—

sticky hands and suntanned arms,

the years an ocean,

our love a boat.

 

 

 

 

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though during midsummer in Finland, the sun will float

above the horizon line for weeks, and each light-soaked

day seems longest. That is what I wish for you—

day after day of unsetting love, whole months when you feel

the most beloved, the most seen, the most embraced

for exactly who you are. I want to send you

giant bouquets of days, all of them the loveliest,

all of them invitations to feel the most wholly yourself.

And on the shorter days when warmth feels distant,

those are the days I want to remind you that it’s normal

to feel unlovable. It’s normal to feel not enough.

It’s normal to wish (unreasonable though it is)

that those days would disappear and every day could be

the best day, the longest light, the day most soaked with love.

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