Summertime Poems & Songs

Summer is here ablaze and awash in the Northern hemisphere. These songs and poems celebrate that season, the heat and rain, floods and fires, family picnics and travel to mountains or the coast. I’ve added a travel song as well.

To start out with the coolest, who better than Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald performing Gershwin’s “Summertime”?

Marge Piercy's poem, "More Than Enough," captures summer's bounty.

The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.

The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly

new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.

A poem about Florida summer, Lynda Hull's "Insect Life of Florida"

In those days I thought their endless thrum
   was the great wheel that turned the days, the nights.
      In the throats of hibiscus and oleander

I’d see them clustered yellow, blue, their shells
   enameled hard as the sky before the rain.
      All that summer, my second, from city

to city my young father drove the black coupe
   through humid mornings I’d wake to like fever
      parceled between luggage and sample goods.

Afternoons, showers drummed the roof,
   my parents silent for hours. Even then I knew
      something of love was cruel, was distant.

To read the rest, go to the Poetry Foundation link for Insect Life of Florida.

Here goes! My poem, "Summer Rain."

Crickets sing counterpoint to the chorus of the heat,
a rush of wind, the scent of sea and pine forest
waking brains that have gone to sleep. 
A silence with ears—twitching ears of a doe, 
revolving heads of owls, a panthers’ stealthy prowl. 
Thunderclouds tumble into a mass, a quick sea breeze
and the surface of the heat falls, the chorus fades, 
steer huddle in the pasture beyond the railroad tracks, 
white herons rise from the field, broken bits of bread, 
angelic hosts flung to the winds.
Lightning finds the seam, scars the sky, 
magnetizes the children’s eyes.
The storm rolls over the land, resounding
in the shells of their brains, and rain courses 
from open veins. Rain-worshippers, 
they drink it, wine of their lives.

And now for some traveling music, "City of New Orleans," written by Steve Goodman and sung by Arlo Guthrie. 

Hope you enjoy the summer!

8 thoughts on “Summertime Poems & Songs

  1. Thank you for the poetry and music commemorating summer. I loved it all! Your poem captures what is so special about summer rain (to me, at least!).”City of New Orleans” is one of my all-time favorite songs–although it does tend to make me weepy.

    Liked by 1 person

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