Summertime poem

with thanks to Abigail, Betsy, and Soshi for the invitation to write on this topic for #verselove at Ethical ELA today (who’s not longing for summer right now?!).

Here’s why summer has such a special pull for me.

For Day Nineteen of National Poetry Month

Summer Second

Sunny afternoon
blue sky
bit of breeze
faint sound of a radio
from a neighbor’s yard
I can’t discern the song
it just sends me into 
reverie
for a second
conjuring
hot sand
under my bare feet
Coppertone in my nose
salt on my tongue
If everybody had an ocean
across the USA
then everybody’d be surfin’
like Californ-i-ay…

snatches of conversation
cresting and dipping
on the breeze
mighty waves of memory
crashing on the shore
my father’s big black sandals
flip-flopping to the old navy-blue Ford
the battered brown Samsonite
suitcase in his hand
the ride is so long
so long
the city gives way
to pastures, meadows
horses
fields
that go on and on, forever
plowed furrows running
like long crazy legs
to keep up 
with the Ford
as we zoom past
until at last
the lonesome highway
comes to a fork
on the left,
the tiny church
where my ancestors
sleep under stones
we veer to the right
turning 
onto the dirt road
my heart beats faster
Daddy drives slower
stirring clouds of dust
and I am already
grabbing the door handle
as Granddaddy’s lush garden 
comes into view
with just a glimpse of 
Grandma’s white angel birdbath
circled by orange marigolds
through the laundry 
lazily flapping
on the clothesline
and there they are, 
walking across
the green, green grass
and I am out of the Ford
before it’s hardly stopped
and in their arms
in the blinding sun
as the forest stands tall
all around
with its cool
dark mysteries
where the rattling cicadas
crescendo
vibrating on and on and on
through my soul
I can’t discern the song
it just carries me
through eternity
in this one
bright second

10 thoughts on “Summertime poem

  1. Fran, I love your photo of your grandparents. I replied to your poem on Ethical ELA. I will copy it and paste it here. Fran, your use of senses and feelings you stir up about summer put me right there with you. What a beautiful summer poem! I especially liked “forever plowed furrows running like long crazy legs,” “and in their arms in the blinding sun as the forest stands tall all around with its cool dark mysteries where the rattling cicadas crescendo vibrating on and on and on through my soul.” Love your ending. Great memoir poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re always so gracious, Gail – I am particularly happy that you like the image of the field running. It’s a vivid memory for me, whipping by those furrows and thinking how they look like they’re running. I was happiest there with my grandparents, in the summer. Many stories there!

      Like

  2. Life has a rhythm, a melody, and a harmony, and through them it creates a lasting impression on us. Even though one “can’t discern the song,” it’s there, reminding us of our past. Thank you for this memoir and the details that make it so powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. REVERIE. That captures it all. So much of summer expands – our sensory awareness, the very passage of time itself…summer just unfurls before our very eyes. It’s that “eternity / in this one / bright second.” EXACTLY.

    Liked by 2 people

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