Today is the first day of summer, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Because summer is so short here in the Midwest, and gray clouds hang gloomily for much of the year, the blue skies and bright sun are a welcome sight. The earth is alive and bursting with color. Creatures are flying and buzzing and people are out walking, the warmth and light dazzling us out of our hermit winter shells. I think if there were not a spring, summer, and fall, well, I’m not sure what to say. It would be dreadfully hard. I can skip the winter; it sometimes feels like part of the curse. A few years ago, I read in a book about the flood that no rain had fallen on the earth until that point. If that is true, how did the earth stay hydrated? From springs underneath? The flood altered the ecosphere (according to the book, written by a Christian geologist; an older book now but full of analysis, observation, and data). If that hypothesis is true, since the flood, we must rely on the rains falling from the sky down toward the earth as opposed to water coming upward, if that is indeed what happened.
But for now, I relish the light, the warmth, the color, and the shimmering sights of summer.
Dusk in June
by Sara Teasdale
Evening, and all the birds
In a chorus of shimmering sound
Are easing their hearts of joy
For miles around.
The air is blue and sweet,
The few first stars are white,–
Oh let me like the birds
Sing before night.
by Sara Teasdale
OH Earth, you are too dear to-night,
How can I sleep while all around
Floats rainy fragrance and the far
Deep voice of the ocean that talks to the ground?
Oh Earth, you gave me all I have,
I love you, I love you,—oh what have I
That I can give you in return—
Except my body after I die?
by Victor-Marie Hugo
In summer, when day has fled, the plain covered with flowers
Pours out far away an intoxicating scent;
Eyes shut, ears half open to noises,
We only half sleep in a transparent slumber.
The stars are purer, the shade seems pleasanter;
A hazy half-day colours the eternal dome;
And the sweet pale dawn awaiting her hour
Seems to wander all night at the bottom of the sky.
All In June
by William Henry Davies
A week ago I had a fire
To warm my feet, my hands and face;
Cold winds, that never make a friend,
Crept in and out of every place.
Today the fields are rich in grass,
And buttercups in thousands grow;
I’ll show the world where I have been–
With gold-dust seen on either shoe.
Till to my garden back I come,
Where bumble-bees for hours and hours
Sit on their soft, fat, velvet bums,
To wriggle out of hollow flowers.
A June Night
by Emma Lazarus
Ten o’clock: the broken moon
Hangs not yet a half hour high,
Yellow as a shield of brass,
In the dewy air of June,
Poised between the vaulted sky
And the ocean’s liquid glass.
Earth lies in the shadow still;
Low black bushes, trees, and lawn
Night’s ambrosial dews absorb;
Through the foliage creeps a thrill,
Whispering of yon spectral dawn
And the hidden climbing orb.
Higher, higher, gathering light,
Veiling with a golden gauze
All the trembling atmosphere,
See, the rayless disk grows white!
Hark, the glittering billows pause!
Faint, far sounds possess the ear.
Elves on such a night as this
Spin their rings upon the grass;
On the beach the water-fay
Greets her lover with a kiss;
Through the air swift spirits pass,
Laugh, caress, and float away.
Shut thy lids and thou shalt see
Angel faces wreathed with light,
Mystic forms long vanished hence.
Ah, too fine, too rare, they be
For the grosser mortal sight,
And they foil our waking sense.
Yet we feel them floating near,
Know that we are not alone,
Though our open eyes behold
Nothing save the moon’s bright sphere,
In the vacant heavens shown,
And the ocean’s path of gold.
by Richard Wilbur
Your voice, with clear location of June days,
Called me outside the window.You were there,
Light yet composed, as in the just soft stare
Of uncontested summer all things raise
Plainly their seeming into seamless air.
Then your love looked as simple and entire
As that picked pear you tossed me, and your face
As legible as pearskin’s fleck and trace,
Which promise always wine, by mottled fire
More fatal fleshed than ever human grace.
And your gay gift—Oh when I saw it fall
Into my hands, through all that naïve light,
It seemed as blessed with truth and new delight
As must have been the first great gift of all.
by Louis Macneice
The Junes were free and full, driving through tiny
Roads, the mudguards brushing the cowparsley,
Through fields of mustard and under boldly embattled
Mays and chestnuts
Or between beeches verdurous and voluptuous
Or where broom and gorse beflagged the chalkland–
All the flare and gusto of the unenduring
Joys of a season
Now returned but I note as more appropriate
To the maturer mood impending thunder
With an indigo sky and the garden hushed except for
The treetops moving.
Then the curtains in my room blow suddenly inward,
The shrubbery rustles, birds fly heavily homeward,
The white flowers fade to nothing on the trees and rain comes
Down like a dropscene.
Now there comes catharsis, the cleansing downpour
Breaking the blossoms of our overdated fancies
Our old sentimentality and whimsicality
Loves of the morning.
Blackness at half-past eight, the night’s precursor,
Clouds like falling masonry and lightning’s lavish
Annunciation, the sword of the mad archangel
Flashed from the scabbard.
If only you would come and dare the crystal
Rampart of the rain and the bottomless moat of thunder,
If only now you would come I should be happy
Now if now only.