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!