Warm, heartful summer is with us, bringing memories of the enchanted seasons of our childhood. Bright mornings, endless, easeful afternoons, silent, star-graced nights. Here’s a poem about one such season.
Fragrant summer with her heart wide open
white cat drowsing beneath the oak
one eye open for the innocent bird
who sees that cat and flies away free.
Old river wide and flowing, water brown with mud
catfish moving silent along the bottom
fully aware of the flicked line, the barbed insect.
This is the summer of paradise
when no rough train can sunder a leg
because all boys run swiftly and surely
when everyone in this dreaming neighborhood
gets another year eternal.
Old Mr. Rumble, smiling in the attic
far above his son’s noisy household
his blood will flow through another winter
the summer has renewed him, given him a guarantee.
Young Mrs. Coleman, fully still a bride,
is carrying another child precarious, but
surely this child will be born
into this special summer.
Jimmy of the painful birth, he’s walking straight now
his strength is slowly gathering
and Mrs. Hanavan, who has not heard the dawn
since a summer long ago when her sense departed
is clutching her husband in their narrow bed:
this morning she heard, faintly, the first bird’s cry.
The widow Finley, who sat before her mirror
dreaming of her husband, counting the imperfections
of her skin no longer supple, has ventured
out into the street; a middle aged man
in a white shirt, driving an old Ford, has
noticed her, he will call this evening,
and she will answer the door.
The silent boy on the street’s dark side
the one whose father turns away, will be made
whole this long summer, because his father’s heart
will break open, he will see his son, and slowly
the boy’s own heart will dare to speak.
St Jude, patron of cases impossible, packs his
bags, smiling, he’s leaving town, he’s needed
this vacation. And everyone wonders where
harsh words went, sad remembrance,
sickening recognition: they’re departed
on the last slow train, the one that left
before the first warm light
of this lovely, improbable eternity of summer.