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Summer poems 
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Post Summer poems
Poems for Summer anyone?



Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:08 pm
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Stevenson's poem captures one of my most vivid memories of childhood in the following poem. I remember thinking how unfair it was that I had to go to bed when the sun was still up.

Bed in Summer
by Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?



Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:14 pm
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This is not a poet I am very familiar with, but liked the images of this poem enough to want to post it.

After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard
by Charles Wright

East of me, west of me, full summer.
How deeper than elsewhere the dusk is in your own yard.
Birds fly back and forth across the lawn
looking for home
As night drifts up like a little boat.

Day after day, I become of less use to myself.
Like this mockingbird,
I flit from one thing to the next.
What do I have to look forward to at fifty-four?
Tomorrow is dark.
Day-after-tomorrow is darker still.

The sky dogs are whimpering.
Fireflies are dragging the hush of evening
up from the damp grass.
Into the world's tumult, into the chaos of every day,
Go quietly, quietly.



Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:10 am
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I am jumping off a bit from summer. The name in the title of the last poem, Tu Pu, caught my attention.


Jueju (Enjoying Flowers Walking Alone on a Riverbank, No. 5 of 7)
Du Fu

jiāng pàn dú bù xún huā

huáng shī tǎ qián jiāng shuǐ dōng
chūn guāng lǎn kùn yǐ wéi fēng
táo huā yī cù kāi wú zhǔ
kě ài shēn hóng ài qiǎn hóng


Huangshi pagoda before river water east
Spring bright lazy sleepy rely on light wind
Peach blossom one clump open without owner
Lovely deep red love light red
Before Huangshi pagoda the river flows east,
In spring's brightness I'm tired and need the breeze.
An ownerless clump of peach blossom's opened,
Is dark or light red more to be loved?


Here is a stanza from another poem or a different translation of the above poem -- The title of the poem this stanza is taken from is
"Alone, Looking for Blossoms Along the River", still I think it could be just another translation.

East of the river, before Abbot Huang's grave,
Spring is a frail splendor among gentle breezes.
In this crush of peach blossoms opening ownerless,
Shall I treasure light reds, or treasure them dark?



Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:33 am
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Post 
Saffron wrote:

Day after day, I become of less use to myself.
Like this mockingbird,
I flit from one thing to the next.
What do I have to look forward to at fifty-four?
Tomorrow is dark.
Day-after-tomorrow is darker still.

The sky dogs are whimpering.
Fireflies are dragging the hush of evening
up from the damp grass.
Into the world's tumult, into the chaos of every day,
Go quietly, quietly.

Well, at least I'm not the exact same age as the speaker in this somber poem. I like it, though, as I like anything somber. I wonder if summer is the best one for poetry. How would you rate it in terms of position? I'd put it at 4, not because I don't like the season, but just because time seems to stop in a way and it is actually too full. You become satisfied, which may be not a good thing for the poetic urge. I bet most poets stop writing in summer.



Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:07 am
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For a summer poem, I'd have to go with an oldie, our old friend the ovenbird. The poem seems to express this feeling I had of summer--what to make of it, spring being such a hard act to follow.

THE OVENBIRD

There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.

Robert Frost



Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:14 am
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DWill wrote:
...I wonder if summer is the best one for poetry. How would you rate it in terms of position? I'd put it at 4, not because I don't like the season, but just because time seems to stop in a way and it is actually too full. You become satisfied, which may be not a good thing for the poetic urge. I bet most poets stop writing in summer.


I think I must agree with you on this -- summer at #4 position. Summer is too much too much: to much to do, too much day light, too much to eat, too hot, too humid....First there is the exhilaration of 70 degree perfect blue skies of early June and the pull to be outside and the stillness and retreat from the heat as full summer comes on. Still, there are a few lovely poems of summer.



Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:17 am
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Post Blossoms
I've come across a poem by Rumi that reminds me of one of my favorite poems and one I've posted when ever I can think of a reason. I will only post the 2nd stanza of the Li-young Lee poem and then the Rumi. I wonder if Li-Young Lee was aware of the Rumi poem when he wrote his.



Excerpt

From Blossoms
by Li-Young Lee


From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi
The Blossom Gives Way to The Fruit

Passing, passing
The blossom gives way to the fruit,
Both are necessary.
One passes into another.
Bread exists to be broken
To sustain its purpose,
The grape on the vine
Is wine in the making,
Crush it and it comes alive.

I read the Rumi poem in a wonderful book Bread Body Spirit: Finding the Sacred in Food, ed. Alice Peck (which it turns out is the rain I so badly needed).

Link to e-copy:
Bread Body Spirit



Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:34 am
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I can feel the heat of this summer poem as I sit roasting in my office. Hopefully, soon, when I venture out, he (the wind) will come out of hiding.

Summer Wind
by William Cullen Bryant

It is a sultry day; the sun has drank
The dew that lay upon the morning grass,
There is no rustling in the lofty elm
That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint
And interrupted murmur of the bee,
Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
Instantly on the wing. The plants around
Feel the too potent fervors; the tall maize
Rolls up its long green leaves; the clover droops
Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms.
But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills,
With all their growth of woods, silent and stern,
As if the scortching heat and dazzling light
Were but an element they loved. Bright clouds,
Motionless pillars of the brazen heaven;--
Their bases on the mountains--their white tops
Shining in the far ether--fire the air
With a reflected radiance, and make turn
The gazer's eye away. For me, I lie
Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf,
Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun,
Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind
That still delays its coming. Why so slow,
Gentle and voluble spirit of the air?
Oh, come and breathe upon the fainting earth
Coolness and life. Is it that in his caves
He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge,
The pine is bending his proud top, and now,
Among the nearer groves, chesnut and oak
Are tossing their green boughs about. He comes!
Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in wives!
The deep distressful silence of the scene
Breaks up with mingling of unnumbered sounds
And universal motion. He is come,
Shaking a shower of blossoms from the shrubs,
And bearing on the fragrance; and he brings
Music of birds, and rustling of young boughs,
And soun of swaying branches, and the voice
Of distant waterfalls. All the green herbs
Are stirring in his breath; a thousand flowers,
By the road-side and the borders of the brook,
Nod gaily to each other; glossy leaves
Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew
Were on them yet, and silver waters break
Into small waves and sparkle as he comes.



Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:52 pm
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I have to admit that this nostalgic poem made me miss my days in Japan when the cherry blossoms were in bloom, and as they let go into summer, they would fall like snow around and on us.

Sara Teasdale ~ "Summer Night, Riverside"

In the wild soft summer darkness
How many and many a night we two together
Sat in the park and watched the Hudson
Wearing her lights like golden spangles
Glinting on black satin.
The rail along the curving pathway
Was low in a happy place to let us cross,
And down the hill a tree that dripped with bloom
Sheltered us,
While your kisses and the flowers,
Falling, falling,
Tangled in my hair. . . .

The frail white stars moved slowly over the sky.

And now, far off
In the fragrant darkness
The tree is tremulous again with bloom
For June comes back.

To-night what girl
Dreamily before her mirror shakes from her hair
This year's blossoms, clinging to its coils?


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Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:49 pm
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realiz wrote:
He comes!
Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in wives!

I assume that is supposed to be "waves,", unless WCB is saying something really surprising here! Thanks for posting this. I hadn't read it before. I like "Thanatopsis", too.



Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:19 pm
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DWill wrote:
Thanks for posting this. I hadn't read it before. I like "Thanatopsis", too.


You beat me to the thanking. I'll say it anyway, thanks to both Realiz and Krysondra for posting. I enjoy Sara Teasdale. She sometimes seems to be a very dramatic Emily D.

And what of this poem "Thanatopsis", anyone want to post and comment on it?



Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:55 am
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At August 9th we are on the down slide toward fall. Although today it will be hard to tell, with the temperature predict at near 100 today. I thought I'd better squeeze in a few more summer poems before the days are so sort we trip into Autumn.

A Lesson for This Sunday
by Derek Walcott


The growing idleness of summer grass
With its frail kites of furious butterflies
Requests the lemonade of simple praise
In scansion gentler than my hammock swings
And rituals no more upsetting than a
Black maid shaking linen as she sings
The plain notes of some Protestant hosanna—
Since I lie idling from the thought in things—

Or so they should, until I hear the cries
Of two small children hunting yellow wings,
Who break my Sabbath with the thought of sin.
Brother and sister, with a common pin,
Frowning like serious lepidopterists.
The little surgeon pierces the thin eyes.
Crouched on plump haunches, as a mantis prays
She shrieks to eviscerate its abdomen.
The lesson is the same. The maid removes
Both prodigies from their interest in science.
The girl, in lemon frock, begins to scream
As the maimed, teetering thing attempts its flight.
She is herself a thing of summery light,
Frail as a flower in this blue August air,
Not marked for some late grief that cannot speak.

The mind swings inward on itself in fear
Swayed towards nausea from each normal sign.
Heredity of cruelty everywhere,
And everywhere the frocks of summer torn,
The long look back to see where choice is born,
As summer grass sways to the scythe's design.



Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:14 am
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Post 
Saffron wrote:
And what of this poem "Thanatopsis", anyone want to post and comment on it?

"Thanatopsis" might be mostly of historical interest, but I still like its stateliness and formality. Bryant wrote this at age 17 in 1812, which is amazingly early for an American poem of this quality, I think. The title means "A view of Death," so you will know why I like it, Saffron. William Harmon calls it "a favorite moral poem for Americans." It's notable that although it is about death, his view of death would not disturb an atheist. It's in the mode of classical high paganism and stoicism. It's rather long, so I'll give the first 25 lines or so, and if you like it you can look up the rest.

Thanatopsis

by William Cullen Bryant

To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And gentle sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;--
Go forth under the open sky, and list
To Nature's teachings, while from all around--
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air,--
Comes a still voice--Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that hourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolv'd to earth again;
And, lost each human trace, surrend'ring up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix forever with the elements,
To be a brother to th' insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.



Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:49 pm
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I never did say thanks to DWill for posting Thanatopsis , Thanks!

The past 2 days have only been in the low 70's around here and that is rather unusual. I love the transition between summer and fall. It has always been one of my most favorite times of the year. I like a few of the lines in the following Jane Kenyon poem very much, although I'm not sure what to make of the whole.



Three Songs at the End of Summer

by Jane Kenyon

A second crop of hay lies cut
and turned. Five gleaming crows
search and peck between the rows.
They make a low, companionable squawk,
and like midwives and undertakers
possess a weird authority.

Crickets leap from the stubble,
parting before me like the Red Sea.
The garden sprawls and spoils.

Across the lake the campers have learned
to water ski. They have, or they haven’t.
Sounds of the instructor’s megaphone
suffuse the hazy air. “Relax! Relax!”

Cloud shadows rush over drying hay,
fences, dusty lane, and railroad ravine.
The first yellowing fronds of goldenrod
brighten the margins of the woods.

Schoolbooks, carpools, pleated skirts;
water, silver-still, and a vee of geese.

*

The cicada’s dry monotony breaks
over me. The days are bright
and free, bright and free.

Then why did I cry today
for an hour, with my whole
body, the way babies cry?

*

A white, indifferent morning sky,
and a crow, hectoring from its nest
high in the hemlock, a nest as big
as a laundry basket ...
In my childhood
I stood under a dripping oak,
while autumnal fog eddied around my feet,
waiting for the school bus
with a dread that took my breath away.

The damp dirt road gave off
this same complex organic scent.

I had the new books—words, numbers,
and operations with numbers I did not
comprehend—and crayons, unspoiled
by use, in a blue canvas satchel
with red leather straps.

Spruce, inadequate, and alien
I stood at the side of the road.
It was the only life I had.



Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:22 pm
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